Emma Paterson founds the first women's union

While working conditions and work unions for men were a topic under frequent discussion in Victorian England, there had been no large efforts to create such organizations for women workers. in 1873, Emma Paterson, who had a background in men's union work, studied the work of American women's unions and proposed her ideas which resulted in the 1874 formation of the first women's union: the Women's Protective and Provident League. The League originally represented tailors, book weavers, straw plaiters, and earthenware workers. They worked to improve factory legislation, safety, and equal pay for women.

This was the first women's union in Britain and led to the establishment of approximately 30 trade unions. The effect of unionization was huge, but it was much more profound than the immediate workplace results. It was an important, vital first step in workplace rights for women and women's rights in general. 

Source: https://wcml.org.uk/our-collections/activists/emma-paterson/


Rogers, Frederick. Labour, LIfe and Literature some memories of sixty years. Smith, Elder & Co, 1913, p 92-94. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=4wEPAAAAQAAJ&rdid=book-4wEPAAAAQAAJ&rdot=1

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