My local pub held a charity quiz night last night. Friends kept me a place in the hope that I would make it back in time. I did, but quickly wished I hadn’t.
How embarrassed was I when the question “who was the first female MP” came up, planted I’m sure, and the entire pub turned around and looked at me expectantly! Guess what, I didn’t know!
I answered Eleanor Rathbone. Rathbone Rd baths in Liverpool was where I learnt to swim and I knew, as did everyone in Liverpool, that she was the woman to be thanked for child benefit (family allowance).
Both women were in Parliament at the same time. Eleanor Rathbone was held in high esteem by all Liverpudlians, especially women, and especially poor women. She campaigned for family allowance and then campaigned again to ensure that it was paid to women and not to men to prevent it being drunk before conversion into food. She saw this happen the year before she died.
I wonder if I had been born into a more privileged family and raised in a less politically aware city would I have got the answer right? And would I even have known or remembered who Eleanor Rathbone was?
The answer by the way was Nancy Astor. I’ll be ready next time!