Leeds nostalgia: women’s rights victory in 1943

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An important victory in the equal rights movement came to pass on this day in 1943 after Sir Walter Womersley, Minister for Pensions, announced in the House of Commons that compensation for injuries sustained by those gainfully employed in the war effort would be the same for women as for men under the Personal (Civil) Injuries Scheme.

He was following the recommendation of a Select Committee, which had looked into the matter.

The article then refers casually to a ‘Mrs Tate’, adding that she was strongly approving of the change.

The lady in question was in fact Mavis Tate (August 189-June 1947), a British Conservative politician and campaigner for British women’s rights, who chaired the Women’s Power Committee of 1941 and the Equal Pay Campaign Committee of 1942 and was a strong advocate of women’s rights.

She said: “May I assure you of the very great appreciation that this great injustice, which has been suffered by women in regard to war compensation until this date, has been removed, and of the gratitude with which they will receive this concession.”

The Government had decided that a married man in receipt of injury allowance, should receive 35s a week plus 8s 9d if he had a wife. The changes, which meant women were then also due the same amount, were due to be implemented from April 19.

In other news, a man from Marsh, Huddersfield, was charged with having half a cow in his garage - no doubt to supplement his meagre rations. Some people did whatever they could to get their hands on extra rations. Despite running a shop, he was found to have no licence for it and was fined £10 with three guineas cost.