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Margaret Llewelyn Davies was the daughter of the Rev. John Llewelyn Davies, and was born at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland in 1861. Her father was a Christian Socialist, a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, an outspoken foe of poverty and inequality, and a strong supporter of women’s rights. After (Read More)
Margaret Llewelyn Davies was the daughter of the Rev. John Llewelyn Davies, and was born at Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland in 1861. Her father was a Christian Socialist, a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, an outspoken foe of poverty and inequality, and a strong supporter of women’s rights. After attending Girton College, Cambridge, Margaret Llewelyn Davies became involved in several progressive causes.
She joined the Women's Co-operative Guild (WCG) in 1886, and from 1899 until 1921 she was the organisation's General Secretary and driving force. Under her leadership the WCG became a campaigning organisation, far more politically active than it previously had been. After carrying out an investigation into the working conditions of the 2,000 women employed in Co-operative stores, the WCG advocated the introduction of a minimum wage. By 1912 the Co-operative Wholesale Society and 200 other retail societies had complied with the WCG's policy on wages.
A member of the National Union of Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), Margaret Llewelyn Davies took part in several peaceful demonstrations, including a sandwich-board picket of the House of Commons in 1912. She also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on divorce reform and the WCG created great controversy by urging that “divorce by mutual consent after two years of separation” should be legalized. Other campaigns she instigated included an attempt to reduce the high infant-mortality rates by the introduction of improved ante-natal, natal, and post-natal care. These views were expressed in her book, Maternity (1915). Other books included her autobiography, Life as We Have Known It (1931). Margaret Llewelyn Davies died in 1943.
This remarkable woman deserves a website in her own right, and anyone wanting to know more about Margaret and her work should invest in Ruth Cohen's splendid 2020 biography, "With Women For a New World".
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