Miss Bessie Rayner Parkes

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Single

Born: 1829

Died: 1925

1866 Petition: Yes

Petition Area: 17 Wimpole Street, London, Middlesex, England


Other sources: https://www.parliament.uk/1866
Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866?1928 (2001); Jane Rendall, 'Friendship and Politics: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Bessie Raynor Parkes', in Mendus and Rendall, Sexuality and Subordination (1989)

Database linked sources: https://www.suffrageresources.org.uk/activity/3212/to-what-extent-did-women-have-different-views-aims-and

Further Information:

Family information: Father was Joseph Parkes, a Unitarian government worker who was politically active for the Liberal Party.

Additional Information: In 1858, Bessie was one of the joint editors of the English Woman's Journal and among a small number of women on the Women's Suffrage Petition Committee, responsible for drafting and circulating the 1866 petition. Thereafter, she was seldom involved in the women's suffrage movement, but had been involved in much of the early work for other women's rights, which helped set the scene for the 1866 petition and the suffrage campaign that was to come. She was good friends with Barbara Bodichon. Sadly for Bessie, her son Hillaire Belloc became an anti-suffragist MP.

Other Suffrage Activities: In 1855, Bessie organised a petition to Parliament regarding the way in which property laws affected married women ? an experience that would pay dividends for her role in drafting and ciculating the 1866 suffrage petition. In 1859, she delivered a paper on 'The Market for Educated Female Labour', which, together with other papers that day, raised interest that led to the formation of the Society for the Promotion of the Employment of Women. She also published books, including Remarks on the Education of Girls (1856) and Essays on Women's Work (1857).

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