Eve Haskins ‘It is up to women to start a crusade for peace!’ Bradford Women’s Humanity League, 1916-18

Existing research on female war resistance in Britain focuses mainly upon the educated middle-class women who had the time and resources to oppose the war, however the peace seeking efforts of working-class women has been little acknowledged, especially in individual regions. Recent research on the nationwide anti-war organisation the Women’s Peace Crusade has begun to address this research gap, and my study will provide further insight by uncovering the pursuit of peace by ordinary women in a local context. Focusing upon the grass-roots organisation the Bradford Women’s Humanity League, formed in 1916, my study addresses the anti-war protest of working-class women in Bradford, illustrating that the working women of the area reacted in an unequivocally determined way to the war weariness caused by rising casualty lists, conscription and food shortages, and that the radicalism of the area, including strong links to the Independent Labour Party (ILP), contributed to their fervour.

Eve Haskins is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, investigating  the social impact of the First World War locally, using the city of Leeds as a case study for the specific investigation of consensus and dissent during the war.