By Bessie Rayner Parkes
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2010
Online Publication Date:July 2011
Original Publication Year:1865
Subjects: History of Ideas and Intellectual History
Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829–1925) was an English poet, writer and prominent early feminist best known for her campaigns for women's right to work and receive professional training. After meeting fellow feminist activist Barbara Bodichon (1827–1891) they founded the first English feminist journal, The English Woman's Review in 1858. Parkes served as its principal editor between 1858–1864. This volume, first published in 1865 and containing several essays from The English Woman's Review, advocates for young middle-class women to be given the opportunity to work and earn a living in safe conditions with fair pay. Parkes links the changes in society caused by the Industrial Revolution to the need for women to work. Her reassurance that married women should still be supported by their husbands illustrates how Parkes, like other contemporary feminists, worked within the contemporary social framework and used existing social norms to justify her aims.