“A century ago, on a wet December evening in 1917, as the incessant slaughter and grinding hardships of the First World War were extracting an ever greater toll from the working-class families of Glasgow, groups of protesting women marched from Govan and Bridgeton, from Partick and Maryhill, carrying placards and singing songs through the city streets. They converged on George Square, distributing illegal leaflets and holding banners aloft bearing slogans including “Peace Is Victory” and “Stop The War” – not quite “Trump is a bawbag”, but their message was just as direct and extremely provocative at a time when the government’s policy was for total military victory and the unconditional surrender of Germany. The Women’s Peace Crusade (WPC) was on the march.
That story of Scottish women-led movements putting their bodies on the line to protest against carnage at the Front and the draconian policies of a militarised state has remained mostly untold for a century.
In recent years, Scottish historians and activists have contributed to a revival of interest in researching and highlighting the diverse ways that women responded to the experience of the war years. The Remember Mary Barbour Association has successfully campaigned for a lasting memorial to “a great Govan hero”.
Last year, Glasgow Women’s Library hosted learning groups, an exhibition and re-enacted a rally at Glasgow Green to commemorate the WPC centenary. And now, a new piece of theatre tells the story of three women who follow different paths of speaking and silence, of dissent and resistance, as they struggle in their own ways to survive the impacts of war in their lives.”
Read Lesley Orr’s full Herald article.