In the words of Laura McLaren: A Woman's Place

The McLarens at Bodnant Hall.

An educated daughter of radical Liberal parents; an heiress and businesswoman; Laura McLaren grew up with a sense of her own worth. But from her priviliged position she was not blind to the ills of society. She argued that all women must be allowed to take their rightful place in political life, for the nation to prosper.

“At present, when a man hands his wife the housekeeping money, it remains his; when it is in her pocket, it is his; when she changes it in the shop, it is his; everything she buys with it is his. Ladies, the little bit of food on the end of your fork before you put it into your mouth belongs to your husband; and even when you have swallowed it, still it is his – for you are his” - Truth (June 1910)

“Compare the human home with the nest of the bird. Do you find the father bird feeding the male nestlings more copiously than the female? Does he teach the birds of the male sex to rise upon the wing, while he forbids the female any such adventure? Do the cocks reserve all the best feeding grounds for themselves and confine the hens to the poorer pastures? Not at all: Both sexes are free to feed where they will, and both spring into the air together with equal power, when they flit away into the sunshine...How different to the human mother so often forced by artificial disabilities to wed in order to live. Given a fair field and an equal training, a woman would be as capable of earning her own bread as a man” - The Common Cause (March 1918)           

“It was not so much being shut out of the vote that hurt them; it was the fact that men should be so unjust to them. Men were by nature their friends and lovers and that they should turn upon them and say they were to be classed with idiots, criminals and lunatics hurt them more than anything” - Speech on why women wanted the vote

“I have heard a member of Parliament in the House of Commons declare, by a strange hallucination, that women had no physical force at all. And yet this member ordered a number of women to get out of bed at dawn while he was comfortably sleeping; he was called by the knock of a woman; his hot water was heated and brought to him by a woman; he dressed in a shirt that a women had made and that a woman had newly washed, and he put on a collar she had ironed; he dressed himself in clothes which she had brushed and which she had probably done much to make; he went down to eat the breakfast which she had prepared, and walked out to go to the House of Commons on steps which she had gone down on her knees to wash. From the cradle to the grave that man depended for his comforts on the physical force of women; they had nursed him in infancy...And yet he was blind to the fact that the greater part of all the dirty, disagreeable, monotonous and ill-paid work of the whole of this country is performed by the physical force of women, and proclaimed to an applauding House that women had no physical force at all.” Letter to The Times (March 1908)

"Now Sir, I desire to occupy no man’s seat. I can, if need be, carry my own garments. I am able to turn door-handles and I care not one jot who goes out first. But I do desire for women equal education, equal marriage laws, equal labour laws, and equal political rights. ‘What women hate is not mankind, but man’s thoughtless injustice, his complacent satisfaction – when he offers women dross for gold and calls it chivalry" -  The Academy (September 5, 1908)

“The home is the centre of our national life, and nowhere can you have a happy home unless you have a happy woman in it. Women are asking for their fair share of that happiness which comes from a little independence, a power of steering their own destinies, whether as maids or as wives. They ask for a fair share of inherited money, an equal right with men to work at any trade or profession in which a living can be earned, for payment of wages to women equal to that given to men for the same work, and for an equal share with men of opportunity for that higher culture which sustains the mind in trouble and gives to life that joy which is independent of worldly things. Working women ask for the protection against the brutality of husbands, young and innocent girls ask adequate punishment for men who wrong them, overburdened mothers need the help of creches and cooperative institutions, and rich women who have servants to tend them require to be employed in useful work” - The Discontent of Women, The Standard (December 1911)

“But I hasten to assure such timid little men that they have really nothing to fear; that if they would only dare to be generous, if they would only dare to give women equal laws and equal privileges with themselves, they would not find our devotion waver. Nor do I believe they would find our intellects unequal to the task of protecting their rightful interests equally with our own”  Better and Happier