Margaret Ashton – pioneering campaigner for women’s rights and peace, the first woman elected to Manchester City Council, considered ‘Manchester’s greatest woman citizen’.
The daughter of a local mill owner, Margaret was denied the education and position in the family business which her brothers received. She became involved in charity work and social campaigns, gaining a reputation for ‘asking questions about society which were considered rather unladylike’.
She co-founded the Women’s Trade Union League in 1895, fighting for women’s working conditions and wages, and became a leading suffragist, campaigning for women’s right to vote. In 1908, she was elected Manchester’s first female councillor. A committed pacifist, she spent the First World War campaigning for peace – a deeply unpopular position.
A lifelong Unitarian and active member of Hyde Unitarian Chapel, Manchester, Margaret’s faith inspired all of her work and activism. She died in 1937, with a memorial service in Manchester Cathedral, as well as a Unitarian funeral.
Find out more about her in Ann Peart’s book, ‘Unitarian Women: A Legacy of Dissent’, available to buy here: https://www.unitarian.org.uk/shop/
Unitarian Sunday Reflections – (Hull and Lincoln Unitarians) – 9 January 2022
“We Make the Road by Walking”
Reflections on liberation, freedom, and Martin Luther King Jr.