One hundred years ago British women gained the right to vote. In recognition of this historic milestone, we’ve made a two-part episode focusing on three of Britain’s first women Members of Parliament (MPs): Lady Nancy Astor, Margaret Wintringham, and Thelma Cazalet-Keir. Each made significant contributions in advancing rights for women and families. All three were dedicated Christian Scientists.
Episode 16 contains Part Two. Guest Robin Harragin describes the courage required of the first women parliamentarians in overcoming resistance to their presence in the House of Commons, and also to the political causes they espoused. Focusing on these three Christian Scientist MPs, she looks at how core Christian values undergirded this political work. She also explores controversies surrounding Astor’s political life.
In Part One, Dr. Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives in London, England, described the challenges and opportunities encountered by the first generation of women to serve in Parliament. Among the First to Stand—Christian Science and women in Parliament (Part One)
Robin Harragin is District Manager of Christian Science Committees on Publication in the UK and Ireland. She is also an independent scholar. Her main research topic is nineteenth-century church history and the spread of Christian Science beyond the USA. She has an MTH from King’s College, London. Much of her early postgraduate research was undertaken at Bath Spa University. In 2006 Harrigan was a Mary Baker Eddy Library Fellow. Her publications include the co-authored article “Christian Scientists: has-beens or twenty-first century spiritual pioneers?” in Visioning New and Minority Religions: Projecting the Future ed. Eugene V. Gallagher (Routledge Inform Series 2017); the article “The Impact of Christian Science on Political Women in the Early Twentieth Century in the UK ” in Acta Comparanda, Subsdia ll (FVG, Antwerpen-Wilrijke, June 2015); and the conference paper “The response of Christian Science to the revolution in medicine,” given at CESNUR 2015.