In 1921, the brilliant and charismatic Trade Union leader Mary MacArthur died aged 40. In her short life, her activism and leadership had been responsible for raising the awareness of women’s poor working conditions, and encouraging them to speak out against injustice and inequality.

Mary MacArthur is perhaps best known for the prominent part she played in the women chainmaker’s strike in Cradley Heath Staffordshire in 1910. The dispute, which lasted two months, ended in success with the women receiving the country’s first minimum wage.

As the leader of the country’s first all-female general trade union, the National Federation of Women Workers, MacArthur travelled the length and breadth of the country, ensuring that women received better pay and working conditions, and the right to Union membership.

In this programme, the publisher of History West Midlands, Mike Gibbs, talks to Cathy Hunt, whose new biography of Mary MacArthur explores the life of this fascinating campaigner.

The songs in this programme were written by John KirkPatrick and are taken from Townsend Theatre Productions’ “Rouse Ye Women” by Neil Gore.

Keywords: Mary Macarthur, Trade Union, TUC, Women Chainmakers, Cathy Hunt

Categories: Information