Private Room in the House – January 1924

To-day my newspaper gives a photograph of the private room set apart in the House of Commons for the use of our eight women members. This places them in a relationship to each other closer than that imposed upon male members who can count scores of colleagues of their own way of thinking. Here we have eight women drawn from a widely severed strata of society, from a duchess (who we must not forget is the daughter of a scientific family ) down to a factory worker and a chorus girl.

All able in their own way but with a widely different social experience and opposing views of how best to serve the state and the family. What we call snobbishness, that attitude of the more fortunate sections of the community to the less privileged, is more pronounced in women than in men in public activities. But in this small group of women the party strength is as evenly divided as it could be — three Conservative, two Liberals and three representatives of the Labour Party and all have achieved worldly success on different planes and by diverse paths.

Small as the group is — divided into three — each section has a strength sufficient to maintain its dignity against veiled condescension from another section or individual. The last quarter of a century has worked many changes in the atmosphere of the House and the presence of Miss Lawrence and Miss Bondfield will not provoke the same personal comment as did the appearance and the dress and manners of John Burns and Keir Hardie, their earliest forerunners.

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