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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone
from . dot to … dots – with plenty of spaces
The role of women
Though women took over some men’s civilian jobs whilst they fought in the First World War, generally it was accepted that the role of a married woman was domestic, whether or not she had a child. One local woman worked at the London Electrical Wire Company in Church Road from just before the First World War to 1922, and again during World War Two, but not in between 1. A woman usually stopped paid employment when she married. In 1923 this was company policy for banknote manufacturers De La Rue in City Road 2.
Newly married working class couples might live with the wife’s family, or near the wife’s mother, and there are recorded instances of this locally 3.
Women could participate in the activities of community organisations : something of a new development, though men tended to remain in control. Leyton Antiquarian Society is not recorded as having a woman member of the committee until after the Second World War, though women attended the inaugural and subsequent meetings from 1926 (when Miss Greaves was an official of the Essex Field Club).
The Representation of the People Act 1928 gave the vote in parliamentary elections to women aged between 21 and 30.
In the 1922 elections for the West Ham Union Board of Guardians Mrs Parry and Mrs Osborn were elected unopposed in the electoral wards for Leyton Central (South) and Cann Hall / Wanstead Slip, and Mrs Lawson JP unsuccessfully contested Lea Bridge Ward, all three with the support of the Leyton Residents Association.
1 WFOHW interview reference number 46
2 WFOHW interview reference number 124 (the interviewee says, as others have said, that her husband expected his new wife to stop paid employment)
3 WFOHW interview reference number 339