Family Allowances Act 1945

Family Allowances Act 1945
  • Title: Family Allowances Act, ch.41, 1945

  • Date : 1945

  • Catalogue number : Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1945/8&9G6c41

  • Description :
    Rathbone always viewed family endowment as a women’s question, a recognition of their contribution to motherhood and to fight the economic dependence of women on men. She launched her campaign in 1918 and published her seminal book, 'The Disinherited Family'. in 1924. It was of ‘immense importance’ to Rathbone that the allowance be paid to mothers, but officials and ministers fought this premise to the bitter end. However they were unprepared for the cross-party rebellion that erupted when the Family Allowances Bill was published in February 1945, stating that the money would belong to the father. MPs Mavis Tate, Nancy Astor and Edith Summerskill agreed that the issue was fundamentally one of women’s rights, and with virtually no support in the House for the payment to be paid to fathers, the bill was quietly amended. It was enacted in June 1945, marking a victory for Rathbone and her 25 year campaign.

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2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death. Remembering Eleanor Rathbone are arranging a series of events to celebrate her life and embrace her diverse humanitarian activism.