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IT WOULDN’T have mattered much had Annie Davidson McEwen been one of Dundee’s property owners in February 1918 because her vote would never have been used, she having died in the flu epidemic later that year. Her neighbours did know the unfairness of working in jute mills, jam factories and printing works often in dangerous and unpleasant conditions, losing fingers, limbs and lives, but paying tax, as second class citizens, without the ability to influence the manner in which they were governed. These women of Scotland helped and supported each other through teenage changes and adult traumas, including childbirth at home, losses of husbands and sons in war, hunger and need. They bore children who suffered rickets, wore callipers and whose growth was stunted by want. Annie’s friends had no say in the election of Churchill as their MP but, votes or no, their steely and determined protests resulted in his being chased from their city. Feisty women will eventually take power whether it’s offered to them voluntarily or not.

Winston Churchill MP addressing audience in Dundee in November 1922
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iScot Magazine
March 2018

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