Lucy Frances Nettlefold, OBE (1891-1966) – Cross-Fertilisation: from Commerce to Committee – Pt 2

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Women’s Interests

Crosby Hall

Nor did Nancy Nettlefold ever neglect her concerns for Women’s Interests and Academic Advancement, neither during those years in commerce, or after. Her directorship with JSN Ltd had given her an prominence in a man’s world and as a member and later President of the British Federation of University Women she used it to help promote women. With that presidential election it seems her secondment as Director of Crosby Hall was assured, and this seems to have inspired her to sit on other committees devoted to matters of Women’s Education and Health.

Thus, between 1932 and 1960 she was the University Representative of Bedford College, Regents Park, a women’s only college and between 1935 and 1951 she sat as a member on their College Finance Committee. Earlier, in 1931, she had joined the Managing Committee of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, serving there until 1960. As well, between 1936 and 1940 she was Vice Chairman on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital Finance Committee, Building sub Committee and House Committee. She became a member of The Provisional Club, a name adopted because no-one had a better idea of what to call a new women’s only club.

Councils, Committees and Cross-Fertilisation

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital

1945 – 1960

Nancy Nettlefold was Conservative member of the St Marylebone Borough Council as Councillor for Dorset Square and Regents Park Ward, she remained on the Council for 15 years. She sat as:

  • Vice President of The Executive Committee of the St Marylebone Old People’s Welfare Association, a Trust in which her life friend, Mary MacIntosh, and she personally invested;
  • Vice Chairman of the Public Health Committee;  and
  • Member of various committees, Trade, Public Libraries and Planning;
  • Member of The Special Committee of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London and several other civic bodies contemporaneously.

During these years Nancy served on the Royal Commission for Equal Pay, in 1956 was Alderman of St Marylebone Borough Council and in 1957 was co-opted as Governor of The Royal Holloway College, another women’s college, once again supporting women’s causes.

Royal Holloway College

Nancy’s span as Conservative candidate for the London County Council (LCC) ran from 1949-60. She also sat as a member of the Welfare Committee and the Staff Appeals Committee. In 1951 she set up the Welfare Committee for Older People, similar to Marylebone and the General Council of the South East Regions Association for the Deaf. Over this period she sat as a member of the Central Council for District Nursing in London, which interests were influenced by the career of Mary MacIntosh, who had been Hospital Almoner. All this cross-fertilised with Nancy Nettlefold’s roles and interest in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.

Eros at Piccadilly Circus

This was not all. An avid and maniacally fast but safe driver, all her life, she maintained that care should be taken to preserve London’s character and charm. Consistent with this interest, she became a member of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee. Charm and character preservation lay behind her contesting: “Piccadilly is a beautiful Mess”, resulting in the Fountain of Eros being maintained and preserved in good condition at its centre for many more years.

Between 1949 and 1961, Nancy sat as a Member of the Education Committee and sometime Chairman of London College of Fashion, which was the Barrett Street Technical College. Her maternal grandfather had been a London Silk Merchant, so she used her connections for employment opportunities.

On Nancy’s retirement from the LCC, Dr O.Wright stated on behalf of the Clerk of The Council (LCC):

“Miss Nettlefold was a greatly valued member of the Council, whose views, however forcefully expressed, engendered light, not heat.”

Sir Isaac Hayward and Sir Percy Rugg disregarded the rigid rules of debate ‘to express the real regret with which all members viewed her departure’.

In 1960 she was awareded the OBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours List, cited as:

“Our trusty and well beloved Lucy Frances Nettlefold.”

Retirement to South Africa

With that she retired to her sister’s home in Cape Town where, you will understand, of course, she joined The Progressive Party, the University Women’s Association, the Business and Professional Women’s Club and the Committee of the Citizens Advice Bureau …

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Lucy Frances Nettlefold, OBE (1891-1966) – Cross-Fertilisation: from Commerce to Committee – Pt 1

 - by whnadmin


In 1960, upon her retirement from the London County Council (LCC), Nancy Frances Nettlefold encapsulated the rationale of her very busy life:

” …to do the work efficiently, necessarily involves being exceedingly overworked because it is through serving on all sorts of bodies that cross fertilisation takes place and thus that member has helped the co-ordination…”

However, before she could cross-fertilise her ideas with her work experience many furrows required ploughing. Working for ‘the Public Good’ meant Nancy Nettlefold had rough land to drill. This meant confronting the widely held and socially inherent attitude of female sexual discrimination, surviving two World Wars, grappling with governmental red tape and addressing the likely procrastination of committees in local government: she worked on the F1 Hybrid of Post-War Britain.

Yet from Suffragette to Servant of the State, Nancy was committed to her causes.

The Law Years

Newnham College, University of Cambridge

At the age of 12, Nancy decided to read Law at Newnham College, Cambridge. This ambition was realised, in 1910, after she received her first LLB from the University of London. This first degree was completed in an acknowledgement of the fact that the University of Cambridge did not, then, award Law degrees (or indeed any degrees) to its female graduates.

1910 – 1914

It is a tribute to her determination that in 1914 Nancy went down from Cambridge with a Double First in The Law Tripos: in Part I she was second between the male and female Lists, and fourth in Part II. The year 1948, when the University of Cambridge began awarding degrees to women graduates, finally saw Cambridge award her an MA (Cantab).

With Marjorie Bebb and Co., fellows in the cause, Nancy Nettlefold had campaigned against the Law Society’s interpretation of ‘person’ as not including ‘woman’. This meant ‘person’ was used to preclude the practice of Law by women. Sadly, Marjorie Bebb and her fellow litigants were unsuccessful in demanding through the courts the right to be classed as ‘persons’ and hence allowed to practice. However, in 1919, The Sex Disqualification Act was passed, so women were then allowed to practice Law in their own right.

1914 – 1917

Despite her two Law degrees, Nancy decided to take her Articles, becoming an Articled Clerk with Rider Heaton and Co. of Lincolns Inn. This period  ended in late 1916, with World War 1 still being waged. Then in 1917 she was off to South Africa, accompanying her recently married sister.

Commerce and Governance

JS Nettlefold Ltd

When she returned to Britain, the War that should have been over by Christmas of 1914 was still raging. In need of more grist for the mill, Nancy was assigned to The Ministry of Food. Modestly, Nancy felt her most important contribution to the War Effort was the protection of the provision of the daily loaf of Bread for the Home population. This was secured by the protection of home grain production together with grain purchase, from abroad.

Her position was on the wholesale imports side. It was here she first came to know Mr Arthur Salter, later Lord Salter, when he worked in the Ministry of Shipping. A lifelong friendship developed between Nancy and Lord Salter. When he was working with the United Nations (UN) she was an occasional but welcome guest at dinners, where her incisive intellect, as a woman, was a point of note.

1918 – 1920

First World War Remembrance

At the end of the First World War, Nancy was twenty-seven and her position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of The Ministry of Food was, at that time, the highest Civil Service post ever held by a woman. But by 1919, with her father’s health failing, her attention turned to JSN Ltd, Wholesale Distributors for the GKN ironmonger goods.

It was no surprise that the constraints of the family firm prevailed upon her, for her brother Hugh was still an active service member abroad, whilst her sister Joyce remained in South Africa. As Director and Company Secretary, Nancy Nettlefold joined the family firm of J S Nettlefold and Sons Ltd of 54, High Holborn.

Some years later, Hugh also joined the firm: following his demob, he went to Cambridge before coming into the firm. This meant that initially(unitl Oswald Nettlefold died in 1924) Nancy was alone with their father, having the full benefit of his comprehensive business understanding.

The business had always got along well because “…there was confidence between the employers and the employed”. Nancy and Hugh became co-Directors and were instrumental in JSN’s successful top down restructure and eventual move to a new location.

1928 – 1929

Euston Road, London

In 1928 Nettlefold House on London’s Euston Road was established as the headquarters of JSN Ltd. It was described as an ‘acme’ of modern commercial business premises. The business was busy and successful, with both siblings having independent areas of business responsibility. Nancy spent time at the end of each week personally debriefing each individual salesman. Having her finger firmly fixed on the business pulse,  she had the confidence of all her teams.

World War 2

Hugh Nettlefold enlisted, leaving Nancy alone. She was well equipped for the job, given her previous War Ministry experience. During this second war experience, she spoke of ‘tiger hunting’ down the corridors of the bureaucracy, solely in order to fulfil the much increased demand for raw materials required for the essential supplies and placed on the firm by the War.

1944 – 1945


By 1944, both Nancy and Hugh were exhausted. He had served in two World Wars and had recently survived a critical operation;  she had carried the firm’s Home Front War Effort with all the extra effort of the facilitation of governmental supply chains. Hence, a merger with GKN Ltd was decided upon.

1944 – 1948

Retirement didn’t mean leisure time. For an additional four years (until 1948) at GKN Ltd, Nancy worked on the JSN-GKN merger, marking only a slight cessation of her commercial working life. However, during this period Nancy brought into sharp focus her peculiar and hard earned mixture of work experience and clear intellect on matters of Council, Committee and Government. Her retirement from JSN Ltd was somewhat protracted and ran until 1948. During that time she restructured and integrated the firm with GKN.

Continued … Pt 2

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First Ever LGBT History Festival – Women & the United Kingdom: Part 2

 - by whnadmin

LGBT hist month

Continued from Part 1 – (accessed 23 February 2015)


Women – LGBT History Festival

Jo Stanley with face painter and artist Samina Bukhari at LGBT festival 2015

Jo Stanley with face painter & artist Samina Bukhari at LGBT festival 2015

 first LGBT his fest image

The 1990s: against violence against women

Obviously Linda Belos’ work segued into the 1990s and to today too. The 1990s were the focus of sessions including Dr Kate Cook‘s session Lesbians and Feminism. Kate spoke about ‘her involvement in the 1990s struggles to end rape and about the involvement of lesbian feminists in the movement against violence against women and girls.’

The 2000s to today: ‘usualising’, educating, exploring

And the legacy is these activist pasts is having an impact, of course, today. This was evidenced by such race-aware sessions as:


Laila El-Metoui joins LGBT themes to ESOl education

  • Laila El-Metoui gave a wry, witty and lively presentation about Embedding LGBT Lives and Issues in Further Education. Using many jokes she explained why LGBT and diversity should be a part Further Education in general and the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) curriculum in particular. She shared with her audience her experience of managing LGBT projects and initiatives within the Further Education sector. They include co-ordinating Morley College’s Educate Out Prejudice (2014): (‘a project which offered practical solutions to support the inclusion of LGBT themes into the adult ESOL curriculum’, see  This year she is managing The humane selfie: ‘Life gets better together’ at Working Men’s College, London, a project which aims to bring students and staff together in purposeful, mutually beneficial activities, to promote greater understanding and respect between various protected characteristics’.’s-college. Laila also hosts a bi-monthly raido programme on Reel Rebel Radio. ‘OUTtakes, the tracks of my life, raises positive  awareness of the LGBTiQ population in the UK. It aims to “usualise” this often invisible community through an interview, music and chats’. 


  • Lagos-born Razia Aziz, with her Muslim heritage, spoke of Spiritual Journeys. Razia explained that in her youth she was a Marxist, feminist, BME, lesbian Muslim and her politics formed her. But in a very personal, moving account she explained how her life experiences and relationships showed her the path to spirituality. Over 50 years I have often pondered upon the meaning and significance of my gender identity and sexuality in pursuit of an answer to the question we all ask at some point in our life: “What’s it all for?”   The world continues to turn, and attitudes towards gender, sex and sexuality have undergone a sea change since my own adolescence in the race and class conscious south London of the 1970s. My personal thread of a journey has woven itself both because, and in spirte of these epoch-making changes. All the while, Spirit remains luminous and unchanging, though my unfolding relationship to It is the constant and compelling source and destination of my life quest.’


Early 20C and earlier again: relationships and impersonation

But women of earlier periods were also in focus.

  • In All the Nice Girls Behind The Lines theatre company gave audiences ‘an entertaining glimpse at the lives of Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney through the eyes of male impersonator Ella Shields. Starting out in Lena Ashwell’s concert parties for the troops in WW1 the young Farrar and Blaney quickly adapted their classical ‘cello/piano act into a ‘turn’ full of repartee and physical humour. Household names in the early 1920s, Farrar and Blaney had an on and offstage partnership, singing popular love songs of the day to each other in West End Revues and living together openly. At the same time Ella Shields’ Music Hall act was in decline. All the Nice Girls imagines her fictitious reaction to the younger pair as they live the starry life of Bright Young Things. Will their relationship survive the pressures of the age and the conflicting urges to marry and conform or to party wildly into oblivion?

all the nice girls

 All the Nice Girls: new looks at WW1 women entertainers

  • “Sappho was right” :The formidable relationship of Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper, was Sonja Tiernan‘s title for her talk. She outlined the very cross-class and life-changing relationship of the daughter of big Anglo-Irish landlord and the working-class Esther Roper from 1897. Eva ‘rejected her aristocratic lifestyle, moving from an opulent mansion in the beautiful countryside of Sligo to a mid-terrace property in the smog-bound quarters of industrial Manchester’. They were together for 30 years. ‘Once labelled as a pair of oddities, it is now clear that the women were open about their relationship, mixing with an eclectic group of radical gay and lesbian activists. The couple became  formidable political advocates in England often organising successful and radical campaigns for social justice. Usiing recently uncovered letters, diaries and manuscripts, this story is a fascinating account of two women who refused to comply with the norms of society at the turn of the twentieth century.’

Sonja Tiernan

Sonja Tiernan: Irish women’s history

  • Author Helena Whitbread went back even further, to around 1820s, tracing Anne’s Lister’s lesbian identity through her coded journal. In the last five minutes or so the ex-teacher spoke off-piste about giving up her weekends to translate the diaries. ‘This was in a sense more revealing because we realised what an incredibly time-consuming commitment and a mission it was for her,’ comments Tony Fenwick, co-chair of LGBT History Month and Schools OUT.

After this stirring week I found myself deeply impressed, yet again, by how active and successful women are in making useful progressive change happen. And through these women’s revelations about their backgrounds and social context it’s clear that much is achieved despite enormous personal and social difficulties. How many of us deserve honour!

Jo Stanley (c) February 2015

Dr Jo Stanley is a writer and historian specialising in gender and the sea. Among the seafarers she’s explored are cross-dressing women ‘cabin boys’ and GBTQI males. Her next book is From Cabin ‘Boys’ to Captains: 250 years of women at sea, History Press, 2016.

With thanks to the LGBT History Festival for the pictures –by  Nicolas Chinardet –  and press releases, from which these details were extracted, and the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre for her picture.


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First Ever LGBT History Festival – Women & the United Kingdom: Part 1

 - by whnadmin


LGBT hist month

first LGBT his fest image


Celebrating all the way, Manchester at Valentine’s weekend was the site of the path-breaking first LGBT history festival. And women were high profile in this event ‘ Uncovering & celebrating our past to enlighten our present & thereby guiding our creation of a more inclusive & equitable future.’

Organising LGBT History Month is always a miracle, each year. And organising Schools Out year around is also a feat. A festival –with all its volunteers and battles with lack of funding, is a mega-feat beyond compare. So it’s absolutely right that equalities campaigner Sue Sanders, one of the three key organisers (and the crucial force for decades behind LGBT history month and Schools Out)  has been made Emeritus Professor of the Harvey Milk Institute. Stuart Milk, the nephew of the San Francisco pioneer, was there to present it to Sue.

Sue sanders and stuart milk

 Professor Sue Sanders receives her award from Stuart Milk.

Professor Sanders said she had ‘never gained a degree and even failed … [the] 11-plus as a result of … dyslexia.’ So she was honoured to get this award for her ‘sustained and distinguished service to the LGBT community.’

One of the key venues of the festival was the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre. It’s named after the late Joyce, one of the founders of the Manchester Parents’ Group. The mother of a gay son she campaigned indefatigably for LGB rights community in Manchester.

Joyce Layland pic

The late Joyce Layland: LGBT parents’ solidarity

LGBT History month embraces the diversity of people, so women and men with every interest and identity were there. Among the women’s history events were the following.

The radical 1980s: Greenham, music, labour struggles and black rights

Prominently featured were sessions by speakers who saw the radical 1980s as the start of many revolutionary changes for LBT women:

  • Rose Bush talked about diversity in Rebel Dykes of the 1980s, using films, photos and audio interviews. She summarised that history in Britain from her perspective: ‘Before there were queer activists, before there were Riot Grrls there were the Rebel Dykes of London. We were young, we were feminists, we were anarchists, we were punks. We lived together in squats in Hackney and Brixton and at Greenham Camp (Green and Blue gates only). We went to political demos every Saturday, we created squatted creches and bookshops and Wild Women Weekends (a forerunner of Ladyfests), feminist newspapers like Feminaxe and magazines such as Shocking Pink. We had bands like Poison Girls and Well Oiled Sisters. We ran sex positive Lesbian S/M clubs such as Chain Reactions, we were trans-friendly, we worked in the sex industry. We talked politics. We fought, we made up, we created and we loved.


  • Sheila Standard’s focus was Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp 1984. In 1979 when the radio announced the First Strike, American Cruise Nuclear missiles were to be based at Greenham Common USAF Airbase, Sheila ‘was gripped with fear and a sense of inevitable disaster, and felt powerless to do anything. The worst bit was her mum lived near Greenham, and would “get it first!” However … [quickly], all over the country, people started to organise into anti-missile groups, and she joined Withington Against the Missiles, a local group in Manchester, and accidentally got involved in an NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) protest becoming one of the “Bunker 4”.Then something truly epic happened … Greenham … thousands of women discovering the power of working together, singing, being silly, the wit and repartee, fear and bravery, that goes with bringing fences crashing down, to the mockery of militarism. A women’s movement that conflicted and then embraced sexuality, and stood up to the hateful press, and “respectable society”, embracing freedom, and our right to struggle against the holocaust.’


  • Cath Booth’s session was Shock Horror! Lesbians and Gays Support the Printworkers. She discussed Lesbians and Gays Support the Printworkers, the London-based group who in 1986 supported the printworkers sacked by newspaper owner Rupert Murdoch, owner of the ‘virulently anti-gay’ Sun. Sun. Their story is another version of the LGSM support of the miners’ strike, now the celebratory centre of the movie Pride.linda bellos

 Linda Bellos: Black History Month founder

Veteran activist, author and broadcaster Linda Bellos gave a personal account of some of her historic achievements in community politics since the mid-1970s. ‘She came out as a lesbian and became a feminist in the late 1970’s. She joined the Spare Rib Collective in 1981 and demanded that lesbians be encouraged to be out. In the following years she helped organised the first Black Feminist and the First Black Lesbian Conferences. She argued strongly against the notion of a “hierarchy of oppression”. In 1987, as Chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit, she was responsible for introducing Black History Month to the UK. She has become a leading authority on equality and human rights law and its practical application across the public sector. [Now] Chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners … [she] was awarded an OBE for her services to diversity in 2007.’

(Continued Part 2)

Jo Stanley (c) February 2015

Dr Jo Stanley is a writer and historian specialising in gender and the sea. Among the seafarers she’s explored are cross-dressing women ‘cabin boys’ and GBTQI males. Her next book is From Cabin ‘Boys’ to Captains: 250 years of women at sea, History Press, 2016.


With thanks to the LGBT History Festival for the pictures –by  Nicolas Chinardet –  and press releases, from which these details were extracted, and the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre for her picture.



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Reclaiming Herstory – Affirming & Celebrating Women’s History Sites

 - by whnadmin


The US National Trust for Historic Preservation is ‘now accepting nominations for 2015 America’s 11 most endangered historic places list’. The aim in 2015 is to ensure that historic places associated with women’s place in history can be celebrated and affirmed – and saved! The website for the Trust observes that for more than twenty-five years, the endangered historic places list:

… has highlighted important examples of the nation’s architectual, cultural and natural heritage … at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

In launching the 2015 search, President of the Trust, Stephanie Meeks, noted that historic places ‘are a tangible reminder of who we are as a nation’. She added that the Trust’s annual listing of historic places ‘has helped shine a spotlight on threatened historic places throughout the nation’. This  ensures not only their preservation, but ‘galvaniz[es] local support for the preservation of other unique, irreplaceable treasures that make our nation and local communities special’.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Home in Hyde Park

Since 1988, over 250 ‘threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures have been identified’ on America’s most endangered historic places list – urban, rural, Native American, sports places, communities, single or stand-alone buildings. In 2015, it’s time for places specifically associated with women to come to the fore, as:

… the list spotlights historic places across America … facing a range of threats including insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country.

Because women are too often overlooked in history, it is inevitable that places associated with women, women’s activism and struggles, women’s political stands and women’s suffering and celebration, anguish and achievement, are equally ignored. In recognising this, the Trust notes that places added to the list:

… need not be [traditionally] famous, but … must be significant within their own cultural context, illustrate important issues in preservation and have a need for immediate action to stop or reverse serious threats. All nominations are subject to an extensive, rigorous vetting process.

Chartered by Congress in 1949, the Trust gains financial support ‘entirely [from] private contributions’ and takes ‘direct on-the-ground action when historic buildings and sites are threatened’. This serves to support the building of ‘vibrant, sustainable communities’. The Trust ‘advocate[s] with governments to save America’s heritage’, striving ‘to create a cultural legacy as diverse as the nation itself so that [everyone] can take pride in [their] part of the American story’.

With over 300,000 members and supporters, and partnering ‘with hundreds of preservation organizations from coast to coast’, the  Trust is ‘recognized as the leader of the historic preservation movement in the United States’. 2015 is the year to ensure that women’s records are recognised as not only a significant but a central part of US history. The Trust calls for entries, nominations and positive suggestions to recognise women in US history – from all backgrounds, all states and territories, all centuries, all fields of endeavour. The call is on for women to come to the fore, for those who care about US history and herstory, for those who recognise women as equal participants in the building of the country to act! Don’t let another year go by without ensuring the recognition of women through places, spaces, communities, buildings and sites.

Material provided by US National Trust for Historic Preservation

with brief additions by Jocelynne A. Scutt


Ellen White, Prolific Writer

‘Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained’

A Brief History of the National Trust

  • In the late 1940s, leaders of a fledgling American preservation movement recognized the need for a national organization to provide support and encouragement for grassroots preservation efforts. In response, a small group set to work on the establishment of a National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their efforts bore fruit when President Truman signed legislation creating the National Trust on October 26, 1949.
  • The founders envisioned an organization whose primary purpose would be the acquisition and administration of historic sites. True to this vision, in 1951 the Trust assumed responsibility for its first property: Woodlawn Plantation in northern Virginia. Twenty-seven other historic sites, ranging from the 18th-century Drayton Hall in South Carolina to the Glass House in Connecticut, have come become National Trust Historic Sites in the years since.
  • Both the National Trust and the preservation movement entered a new phase with the 1966 passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. Among other important provisions, the Act provided federal funding support for the Trust’s work. After 30 years, this federal appropriation was terminated by mutual agreement. Today the Trust relies on private-sector contributions for support.
  • Outreach programs have continued to assume importance as the organization has grown. The Preservation Services Fund was created in 1969 to provide financial assistance to local preservation projects. The first field office opened in San Francisco in 1971. There are now 13 in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Demonstration projects soon followed: the National Main Street Center, which emphasizes preservation as a tool for revitalizing traditional business districts, in 1980; Community Partners, which employs a similar approach in historic residential neighborhoods, in 1994. Other special programs were created to focus on rural preservation (1979), heritage tourism (1989) and statewide organization development (1994).
  • Complementing outreach, the Trust continued to emphasize education. Publication of a magazine (today called Preservation) began in 1952. The first Preservation Honor Awards, recognizing individuals, organizations and projects that represent the best in preservation, were presented in 1971. The Trust has championed the annual nationwide celebration of Preservation Week since 1973. The yearly list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, first issued in 1988, has become a highly effective means of spotlighting treasures in trouble and rallying efforts to save them.
  • In 2011, the National Trust announced a dynamic new program called National Treasures, through which the organization will identify significant threatened places across the United States, and take direct action to save them. National Treasures are part of a new and focused effort to bring more Americans into the preservation movement, and demonstrate the relevance of preserving the nation’s historic places.
  • Today, the National Trust has a staff of 300 employees based at headquarters in Washington, D.C., in field offices nationwide, and at historic sites in 15 states. With 750,000 members and supporters, today’s National Trust has become the organization its founders envisioned: the vigorous leader of an expansive movement that is changing the face of America.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Now Accepting Nominations for 2015 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List Contact or 202-588-6141 Follow the National Trust @PresNation and 11 Most list #11Most For additional information, e-mail or call 202.588.6141. To learn more about the program and to submit a nomination, visit: (accessed 4 February 2015)

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Strong Willed & Courageous … Margaret Schencke – A Woman of Fortitude

 - by whnadmin

Margaret Schencke (Gretel in Germany, Margot in Britain) was born in 1888 in Zwickau in Saxony, Germany. She was the only child of her father’s second marriage, but she had several half-brothers and sisters from her father’s previous marriage.

Margot was our grandmother/ great grandmother.

After a huge storming row with her parents, with whom she had quite a tempestuous time in her later teenage years, Margot came to England. We think it was about 1908. Margot was strong willed and courageous. She stayed in Chelsea as a lodger in the house of William Montgomery Smith who was married to our Great (-Great) Aunt Margaret née Dixon.

Just after arriving in England Margot become involved with supporting the Suffragette movement.

In 1975 Margot was idly flicking through the Sunday Times only to find a picture of her in Holloway Prison. It was only then that she wrote to Midge MacKenzie describing her experiences that led to her going to Prison in 1913. It wasn’t something that was spoken about, and it was only later that her family would talk about it with huge pride.

In her letter to Midge MacKenzie Margot described herself as small fry and no shining light of the Suffragette movement. She sold Suffragette papers at Hyde Park Corner and outside Whiteley’s in Bayswater. This exercise was marred by well-dressed men coming up to her and making the ‘most beastly sexual remarks’. Margot ‘was not amused.’ On another occasion she was holding the suffragette flag whilst a clergymen gave his address in Hyde Park. ‘Suddenly a lot of hooligans came on the scene, took my flag and tried to get hold of me. It was most terrifying but then suddenly I found myself held by two policemen and two on horseback got rid of the crowds, all four led me out of the park and put me on the bus.’

Margot described the events that led to her arrest: ‘When Mrs Pankhurst was arrested there was a protest march of suffragettes which I joined and I decided then to make my personal protest by throwing a stone through a Home Office window. I discussed this with two women (sisters), I walked with but did not know. They were most helpful, took me to their home and let me telephone home to say I might not be back. They gave me a stone. Then one of them also made a telephone call. Later it emerged that that they were spies and had warned Scotland Yard. So a detective waited kindly for me. For personal reasons I could not go to prison in my own name, so I became Margaret Scott and I got a one month sentence.’

The personal reasons that Margot described was that she was German and didn’t want to be deported. She liked England and wanted to remain. Indeed she was about to get married to our Grandfather/Great-Grandfather Richard Dixon. Margot managed to hide that she was German from the Court and prison authorities.

Margot married Richard in July 1914 just before the outbreak of the First World War. He also lived with his sister in Chelsea.

Margaret Scott (Margot Schenke) is on the left

During her time in Holloway the Prison Authorities took photographs of the Suffragettes, the picture of her together with three others is one of the most often published. In her letter of 1975, Margot mentions several women who she met whilst in Prison: Olive Hoskin, an artist who carved the wooden chair in her cell, Margaret McFarlane, Mrs Despard and Jane Short (prison name Rachel Peace) who was on hunger strike.

Margot left the Suffragette movement when war broke out. She recalls ‘Then the war broke out, I was convinced that the Suffragettes had really now won their case and the vote would soon be granted. I lost all connection with the movement and being married had my own busy life to live.’

Margot stayed in Britain for the rest of her life. She had two children, Barbara and Margaret who got to vote. She died in Ealing, London in 1983.

An important lesson Margot has taught (further to not to trust the police on a demonstration), is not to waste your vote, it’s too important to throw away on not voting or voting for the party you don’t want to see govern.

Becky Jarvis and Jo Sibert (c) January 2015

Becky Jarvis has followed in Margot’s footsteps and is a campaigner who currently works for OPEN (Online Progressive Engagement Network), an alliance of the world’s leading national digital campaigning organizations. Previously she worked for 38 Degrees where she campaigned to get out the vote, alongside other issues of social justice.

Jo Sibert is Emeritus Professor of Child Health, Cardiff University.

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Young Adult Literature – Censoring Teenage Sexual Autonomy

 - by whnadmin

Young Adult Literature as a genre came to be a ‘publishing phenomenon’ only as late as the 1960s and 1970s. A sub-genre of so-called ‘problem novels’ quickly emerged, most often aimed at young women and focusing on ‘divorce, drugs, alcohol- or problems associated with social life, sexual experience, and physical development.’[1] By the early 1980s, writers including Judy Blume and Norma Klein, who wrote in an adolescent rhetorical style and explored bodily, sexual, and reproductive themes that spoke directly to girls’ experiences, began gaining recognition for their literary contributions.[2] However, at the same time, others began efforts to have such works removed from bookshop and library shelves and kept away from young eyes.

The emergence of this branch of morality policing is not surprising given the context of Reagan’s Right in the 1980s. Judy Blume describes how ‘almost overnight, following the presidential election of 1980, the censors crawled out of the woodwork, organized and determined.’[3] One of the most notable aspects of this ‘wave of censorship’ was its unification of local, state, and national levels of discourse. National conservative groups including the Moral Majority and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum engaged with conservative thinkers in libraries and bookshops by encouraging more attention to what children and teenagers were reading.[4] Independently, ‘other objections to books were…of local origin.’[5] In November of 1984, trustees of the school district of Peoria, Illinois voted to ban three novels by Judy Blume (Blubber, Deenie, and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t) from the city’s public school libraries, ‘on the ground that the books’ strong language and sexual content were inappropriate for children under thirteen who might gain access to them.’[6]  A Peoria resident defended this decision in the Southeast Missourian: “It’s not as if we’re taking all the Judy Blume books and putting them in a bonfire.”[7] The assertion here was that what was happening was not total censorship in a way that impinged on First Amendment rights or echoed McCarthy era communist witch-hunts, but merely a normal concern for ‘childhood innocence.’

Other documented cases of censorship of young adult literature are demonstrative of what censors were reacting to within these texts. In a 1993 speech, Judy Blume recalled giving three copies of her 1970 coming-of-age novel Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret to her son’s elementary school, then later realizing that they had ‘never reached the shelves’ as ‘the male principal decided on his own that they were inappropriate for elementary school readers because of the discussion of menstruation…never mind that many fifth and sixth grade girls already had their periods.’[8] Blume cites a reason commonly given for wanting to ban her books as ‘sexuality (which means anything to do with puberty).’ [9] It might be assumed that these were in fact specific reactions to the stories being about young women acting with sexually agency. Individual complaints substantiate this. A male principal deemed Blume’s novel Deenie ‘unsuitable for young readers because in the book Deenie masturbates… It would be different if it was a boy.’[10] Norma Klein’s experience of censorship also reflects the highly gendered nature of the critique. In her essay ‘On Being a Banned Writer,’ Klein discussed a letter she received in complaint of her work in 1983. The writer of the letter was shocked that, in the novel Breaking Up, a fifteen-year-old girl ‘dates without asking her parents’ permission,’ and ‘makes a big deal about how special it was that she “saved” herself for a boy she really loved…I always thought girls were to save themselves for the man they married!’ [11] A pervasive consternation among such critics was that the books would influence the behavior of young readers: ‘challengers seemed to believe that what kids read about, they were sure to do….(it) represents a deep fear of the power, sexual and otherwise, of the young.’[12]

The novels themselves give more clues as to what might have triggered this level of censorship. The greatest influence on the young, female characters is undoubtedly women’s liberation. In Klein’s Beginner’s Love, the protagonist muses: ‘Leda says if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. She read that in some feminist magazine.’[13] The plots reflect what Joan Jacobs Brumberg has called the ‘brief moment’ in American history where there were ‘few sexual constraints on sexually active girls.’[14] In the novels by Blume, Klein, et al, ‘two nice kids, in love, have sexual intercourse and no one dies.’[15] In both Blume’s Forever and Klein’s It’s Ok if you Don’t Love Me, the male love interests are the ones left alone, the girls having moved on and embodied the traditionally ‘masculine’ relationship role. The young women in these books enjoy sex, and their experiences are discussed in detail. Crucially, they enjoy sex as just one component of a rounded lifestyle, as with Blume’s Sybil: ‘Sybil Davison has a genius IQ and has been laid by at least six different guys.’[16] In flagrant disregard of conservatives’ disapproval of sexual education, Blume and Klein wrote their characters as constantly seeking this out, as with Katherine in Forever, who talks through her contraceptive options with her grandmother. They have an almost utopian level of support from their families, teachers and friends in their quest for sexual knowledge. However, this reveals urban and class dimensions that may have alienated more readers than just potential censors. Much of the freedom the young women are afforded is due to their upper-middle-class backgrounds and their East Coast location. For instance, Forever’s Katherine is able to take public transport in to Manhattan to visit Planned Parenthood and obtain birth control on her own. This critique links this debate to the wider dispute over the historical significance of the sexual revolution; as bell hooks writes in Feminist Theory from Margin to Center, ‘most women did not have the leisure, mobility, etc. to be sexually “free.”[17]

Ultimately, the sexual freedom experienced by the young women in these books was so at odds with the ubiquitous desire to silence discourse on teenage female sexuality in the 1980s that it is unsurprising that these novels were so widely contested at this moment in history.

Charlie Jeffries (c) January 2015

Charlie Jeffries is in the second year of a PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral project examines shifting attitudes towards teenage female sexuality in America from 1981-2008. For the Spring of 2015, she is based in Boston undertaking archival research funded by the Dissertation Grant at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and as an exchange student at Boston University. She has an undergraduate degree in American Studies from King’s College London with a year abroad at Georgetown University, and a master’s degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford. Between her master’s and PhD, she spent a year as a Teaching Fellow at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where she taught modules in world history, and ran a queer theory reading group and a feminist film seminar.


[1]Lucy Rollin, Twentieth-Century Teen Culture by the Decades: A Reference Guide (Westport; London: Greenwood Press, 1999), p. 266.

[2]Mallory Szymanski, ‘Adolescence, Literature, and Censorship: Unpacking the Controversy Surrounding Judy Blume,’ The Neo-Americanist 3 (Spring/Summer 2007), p. 6.

[3]Judy Blume, Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers (New York: Simon Pulse, 2001) p. 5.

[4]‘Book Banning in America,’ The New York Times, December 20, 1981.

[5]Leonard S. Marcus, The Minders of Make Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008), p. 303.

[6]Marcus, Minders, p. 303.

[7]‘School Board Reverse Blume Book Ban,’ Southeast Missourian, December 6, 1984.

[8]Judy Blume ‘Is Puberty a Dirty Word? (Adapted from a speech given at conference, ‘The Sex Panic: Women, Censorship, and Pornography’ May 7-8, 1993), New York Law School Law Review 38 (1993), p. 38.

[9]Blume, ‘Is Puberty a Dirty Word?’ p. 38.

[10]Blume, ‘Is Puberty a Dirty Word?’ p. 38.

[11]Norma Klein, ‘On Being a Banned Writer,’ The Lion and the Unicorn 10 (1986), p. 19.

[12]Rollins, Teen Culture, p. 301.

[13]Norma Klein, Beginner’s Love (London: Pan Horizons, 1986), p. 168.

[14]Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of Teenage Girls (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 185.

[15]Peter Gorner interview with Judy Blume, ‘The Giddy/sad, Flighty/solid Life of Judy Blume’, Chicago Tribune, March 15, 1985.

[16]Judy Blume, Forever, (London: Pan Horizons, 1986), p. 5.

[17]bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (Cambridge: South End Press, 2000), p. 148.

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Who Was Miss Hooper?

 - by whnadmin

ms hooper

Who was Miss Hooper?

 Copyright: Larry Herman


My parents met Gertrude Hooper when they were out walking in the Preseli Mountains, in 1970, and my father photographed her with her sheepdog in the snow that day.

Caught at that moment by the camera, she’s always appeared afraid of any contact. She makes an intriguing sight, wrapped up against the elements. You can’t see her face, but this isn’t the only source of mystery – there is also wonder about what she’s doing out there in the hills and how she can even survive, seemingly against the odds. A woman alone in the bitter cold, she seems almost to be a relic from the past.

Gertrude was around 66 years old when the photo was taken and she was living in the fireplace (they say) of the nearby farm – by all accounts the only part of the house that was robust at this stage as the rest had been neglected for decades by then and was dilapidated.

The Women’s History Network told me that many other farmhouses in the area had also fallen into disrepair and been abandoned as industrial changes took hold over the 20th century and took their toll on farming.

For hundreds of years, small scale sheep farmers and graziers have lived out in the Preseli Mountains surviving bitter conditions to make a scarce living and forming a part of the scattered rural communities of Pembrokeshire. Historians have told me that across England and Wales, many small farmers and graziers are women, but that they are often widows, which is not the case with Miss Hooper.

When Gertrude died in 1985 she was 80, and she was buried in Little Newcastle, not a mile from where she was born. By then she had lived for almost fifty years on her own in the hills where my parents had that encounter with her years before. She had lived through a tumultuous time, with the century’s world wars and far-reaching socio economic shifts in the region. One small life, through which history can be told.

Melissa Rees Herman (c) December 2014

Melissa Rees Herman is an independent filmmaker, making a film based on the life of Pembrokeshire sheep farmer Miss Gertrude Hooper. The film is Melissa Rees Herman’s attempt to put together some of the pieces of the elusive Miss Hooper, who lived an extraordinary life.

Please get in touch with Melissa Herman if you have any information about Gertrude Agnes Hooper (1905-1985). She is also interested in Pembrokeshire life during the first half of the 20th Century, particularly women and farming, women on their own, education, culture and the Eisteddfod, and especially first hand accounts.

Melissa Rees Herman’s email address is

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UNRELENTING BACKLASH – Depoliticising Male Violence Against Women: Part 3

 - by whnadmin

Cont from Parts 1 & 2

The politics of male sexuality has been successfully obliterated and the term “sexual consent” is supposedly key to ensuring male sexual violence is not inadvertently (sic) perpetrated against women and girls! Conveniently erased is the fact girls and boys do not grow up in a vacuum; they are inundated with incessant misogynistic messages of male sexual entitlement to females via mainstream media, men’s pornography industry and popular culture. Men’s male supremacist legal institutions continue to justify/excuse/deny male accountability by claiming existing laws on rape are “gender neutral” rather than created from the male lived experience. And it is thought that focusing on teaching girls and boys individually about “sexual consent” will somehow magically erase embedded institutional structures and systems which normalize male eroticisation of sexual power over women and girls and uphold dominant beliefs that males are never accountable for their sexual actions, behavior or choices!

Implementation of gender neutrality is an insidious form of male denial of institutional and individual male domination and control over women. Currently in the United Kingdom specialist feminist refuge services are being denied central government funding and instead non-specialist generic service providers are being awarded contracts by central government to operate these refuges. Some areas of the UK have already experienced existing refuge centers being shut down, leaving women with nowhere to go. Instead non-specialist services are taking over and they are generic meaning there is no recognition whatsoever that intimate partner violence is not symmetrical whereby equal numbers of women and men are subjected to the same violence. The politics of how and why innumerable men inflict violence in all its forms on their female partners is being erased by claims of “gender neutrality”.

Why is this happening? Sadly various feminist organisations have fragmented and there is currently no collective activism opposing male controlled government policies which refuse to accept women and men are not symmetrically situated or have equal access to socio-economic means. Without a strong feminist collective this enables male supremacist policies to be enacted without any opposition. Also, as a result of dependence on central government funding, these once grassroots feminist organisations which not only provided specialist support to female survivors of male violence, but also operated to campaign for real social change concerning male violence against women had to cease this function and instead become “State funded liberal agencies…..promoting self-help and healing.” (Mardorssian, 2002: 771).

Men’s demands for gender neutrality/formal gender equality are formulated on the male presumption that women and men should be equally treated according to standards developed from the life experiences of men, when in reality women and men are differently situated. (Kaye and Tolmie: 1998: 166) Men’s rights/interests are equated with defining their own interests as those of society as a whole. This is why men believe they are not a “group or gender” because their sex is the generic standard for humanity whereas women are “other”. Therefore, men’s interests and perspectives are perceived as “neutral” whereas women’s interests/rights are biased. (Johnson: 2005: 157)

The situation concerning pandemic male violence against women and girls is dire because men’s backlash against women has been ongoing for more than two decades. Not only has male violence against women been successfully depoliticised individualism is now dominant wherein men claim that women and men are symmetrically situated and women magically have limitless choices and agency. Each act of male violence against women supposedly happens because the woman made a wrong choice or failed to enact her agency! This ensures the focus is on individual women rather than how society operates whereby male created institutions and structures remain in place and maintain male domination over women.

How do we challenge this cacophony of different voices all claiming that women have achieved equality with men, men are the real victims, violence is a human problem not a gendered political one, etc.? One of the central issues is the fact many feminist organisations have capitulated to men’s demands and men’s interests because they know men will punish them for challenging male power. But these feminist organizations have forgotten our herstory which tells us that an individual woman cannot successfully challenge male power but women enmass will change the world! Radical feminists have to keep on speaking the truth about male violence against women as men won’t willingly relinquish their institutional and individual power over women.

Jennnifer Drew (c) November 2014


Phillips D. and Henderson, D. 1999: A Discourse Analysis of male violence against women. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 69, 1:116-21.

Strauss, M.A. 1990: Physical Violence In American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,154 families, ed. M.A.

Strauss and R.J. Gelles 75-91, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers.

Kaye, M. and Tolmie, J. 1998: The Rhetorical Devices of Fathers’ Rights Groups, Melbourne University Law Review 22: 162-94.

Johnson, A.G. The Gender Knot: Unravelling Our Patriarchal Legacy, Rev. ed. Philadelphia, Temple University Press.

“UNRELENTING BACKLASH – How MaleViolence Against Women Continues To Be Depoliticised” at:  ~~~~~~~~ Rain and Thunder: Issue 60 (Fall/Winter 2014): Themed Issue on Violence Against Women: Strategizing a Radical Response for the 21st Century

Continued from ‘Unrelenting Backlash …’ Part 2, (accessed 1 January 2015)


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UNRELENTING BACKLASH – Depoliticising Male Violence Against Women: Part 2

 - by whnadmin

Continued from ‘Unrelenting Backlash – Depoliticising Male Violence Against Women: Part 1′

Likewise academic reports, papers, and research findings all invisibilise the male agent and perpetrator. Philips and Henderson (1999) analysed a sample of articles on the subject of male violence published in popular and scientific journals between 1994 and 1996. Out of a total of 165 summaries and 11 articles the phrase “male violence” was mentioned only eight times whereas words such as rape, abuse, violence and domestic violence appeared 1,044 times. These researchers also noted that the sex of the victim was commonly stated by words such as “female or woman” and “abuser/perpetrator” was stated 327 times rather than the words “man/male”.

Phillips and Henderson’s conclusion was that “when the sex of the perpetrator is not specified and the violence described only includes the identity of the female victim; male violence against women is constituted as a problem of women.” Moreover in the articles considered in this study, code words such as domestic violence, marital violence, and family violence used to describe the exclusively male violence against women actually convey the message that women are as violent as men.” (Philips and Henderson, 1999: 20). Therefore it is acceptable to talk about violence but never about “male violence”.

One of the central tenets arising from the Women’s Movement in the 1970’s was naming men as those responsible for committing violence against women because feminists recognised that not naming the perpetrators ensures society’s focus is on scrutinising women and blaming them for supposedly provoking or causing male violence against them. Naming men as the agents responsible directly challenges male power over women.

The Women’s Movement sought to eradicate misogynistic male created myths which blamed women for male sexual violence committed against them. However, pandemic women blaming has once more become dominant and widely accepted as “common sense.” Men’s rights activists and non-feminists have successfully promoted the lie that male sexual predators are the “real victims” and women are the sexual predators/perpetrators!

The infamous Steubenville Rape Case is not unique, rather it is a snapshot of what commonly happens wherein patriarchal reversal is enacted to hide male accountability. Males charged with sexual crimes against females are portrayed as “the innocent victims whose lives have been destroyed by nasty vindictive, lying women/girls who falsely accuse innocent males of rape/male sexual violence perpetrated against them.” Rapes and male sexual violence against women and girls are, according to male rape apologists, as rare as the unicorn, whereas females falsely charging males with rape/male sexual violence is a pandemic! In addition public service messages emanating from various government institutions and mainstream media articles are all fixated on curtailing women’s right of freedom of movement and holding them personally accountable for their own safety.

Propaganda messages to women and girls tell them they must not go out alone after dark and they must not wear revealing clothing because this provokes males into subjecting them to male sexual violence. Women must not consume alcohol in public because female consumption of alcohol tells men “the woman is sexually available to them”! Any woman who is attacked by a male anywhere irrespective of whether or not it was in the public sphere or private domain she, not the male perpetrator, is accountable because she failed to enact sufficient safety measures!

The Women’s Movement in the 1970’s challenged pandemic female victim blaming and analysed how and why innumerable males commit sexual violence against women and girls and deny their accountability. Male sexuality as a social construction was subjected to feminist analysis and feminists recognised men accord themselves male (pseudo) sex right of access to females by claiming their sex is not accountable, because women alone are responsible for gate keeping supposedly insatiable and uncontrollable male sexual desire. The Women’s Movement challenged male myths that “rape is about power not sex” because feminists recognised rape and male sexual violence against women is overwhelmingly about male eroticisation of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls. Many feminist organisations specialising on challenging (male) violence against women and girls focus solely on calling for educational reforms in order to teach girls and boys about “sexual consent”.

Jennifer Drew (c) November 2014

Continued from ‘Unrelenting Backlash – Depoliticising Male Violence Against Women: Part 1′ (accessed 27 December 2014)


Phillips D. and Henderson, D. 1999: ‘A Discourse Analysis of male violence against women’. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 69, 1:116-21.

Strauss, M.A. 1990: Physical Violence In American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,154 families, ed. M.A. Strauss and R.J. Gelles, pp. 75-91, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers.

Kaye, M. and Tolmie, J. 1998: ‘The Rhetorical Devices of Fathers’ Rights Groups’, Melbourne University Law Review 22: 162-94.

Johnson, A.G. The Gender Knot: Unravelling Our Patriarchal Legacy, Rev. ed. Philadelphia, Temple University Press.

Thank you to Dr Lynette J. Dumble for permission to reprint this article from GSN (Global Sisterhood Network) and to ‘Rain and Thunder’ for the original publication of the article by Jennifer Drew.

“UNRELENTING BACKLASH – How Male Violence Against Women Continues To Be Depoliticised” at: ~~~~~~~~ Rain and Thunder: Issue 60 (Fall/Winter 2014): Themed Issue on Violence Against Women: Strategizing a Radical Response for the 21st Century

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