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Motherhood Endowment (Rathbone)

  • By: Jill Mahoney
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Eleanor Rathbone (1872–1946) was a British feminist and social activist who spent much of her life advocating the adoption of a motherhood endowment, also known as family allowances. She was a member of the House of Commons and campaigned on many issues concerning women. In addition to the motherhood endowment, she also campaigned against female circumcision in Africa.

Eleanor Rathbone was born in London on May 12, 1872. Her father, William Rathbone, was a prosperous ship owner, and a member of the Liberal Party. He served in the House of Commons from 1869–95. During college, Eleanor became interested in women's suffrage and became a leading figure in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. After she graduated, Eleanor became involved in the Women's Industrial Council ...

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