History Of The ‘National Federation Of Women Workers’ Banner
The banner of the national Federation of Women Workers was unfurled in March 1914, made by the firm of Toye, the design is taken from the Walter Crane illustration for the cover of the union’s weekly journal, The Woman Worker.
The badge depicts Unity, illustrated by the bundle of sticks bound together & the familiar handshake, so long the symbol of trade union unity. The object of the union is clearly stated on the banner, ‘to fight, to struggle, to right the wrong’.
Appropriately, the first president of the union was the indefatigable fighter for better pay & conditions for women, Mary Macarthur. At the unfurling of the banner it was declared that it was ‘to be used at all industrial disputes where women are involved’.
In November 1918, at the end of the war, some 5000 women who had been sacked from Woolwich Arsenal marched to the Embankment where the
Federation banner was held aloft while Mary Macarthur addressed the crowd. Wherever the fight involved women, Mary Macarthur & the Federation were there, helping to organise Dundee jute workers, Bridport networkers, Kidderminster carpet girls & dozens of other groups.
The leaders of the Federation believed passionately in equality for women & as soon as a male-dominated union was prepared to open its ranks, the Federation transferred whole branches to the men’s union.
Finally in 1920, the Federation amalgamated with the National Union of General Workers.
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