equal right to education politics womens rights womens suffrage

Margaret Wintringham

Margaret Wintringham was the first female Liberal MP and the first British-born woman to take a seat in Parliament.


Winteringham had begun her working life as a school headmistress, a magistrate and a member of the Grimsby Education Committee. She was a member of the National Union of Women Workers, the British Temperance Association, the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship (NUSEC), the Women’s Institute (which called her “our Institute MP”), the Townswomen’s Guild and the Liberal Party. She was one of the first female Justices of the Peace and during WWI helped organise aid for Belgian refugees.


Wintringham unofficially co-ordinated the eight women who became MPs in 1923, to work across party lines on issues affecting women. She helped to ensure the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, whose provisions protected girls against under-age sex and fought to extend women’s suffrage as the Representation of the People Act 1918 had extended the vote to all men over the age of 21, but only to some women over the age of 30. She also campaigned for equal pay for women, for state scholarships for girls as well as boys, women-only railway carriages and in her last written question to parliament, called for pensions for nursery school teachers.

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