On this International Women’s Day Georgia Smith, Communications Officer at Webb Memorial Trust, highlights the accomplishments of sociologist and social reformer Beatrice Webb, a woman who was truly bold for change.
“International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to celebrate the work of a pioneering social reformer whose lifetime of research into the economic conditions of the working class enabled much of the social advancement of the 20th century but who is now largely forgotten: Beatrice Webb (1858-1943).
The legacy of Beatrice Webb
Beatrice Webb’s contribution was to provide substantial intellectual capital for the formation of the welfare state at a time when women didn’t even have the vote.
Her Minority Report on the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress 1905–09 recommended “a national minimum of civilised life” and advocated that government – rather than charity – should be responsible for the well-being of citizens.
“…the seed from which later blossomed the welfare state.”