Laura McLaren of Bodnant Garden: A voice for womankind

Laura McLaren of Bodnant Garden campaigned not just for women’s right to vote; on a wide range of issues she was a powerful orator whose words rang out from many a public platform, and a prolific writer of letters, pamphlets and newspaper articles. She was the author of the first Woman's Charter in 1908. Here are some of the issues close to her heart, in her own words...

Laura McLaren

A woman's place? 

An educated daughter of progressive parents; an heiress and businesswoman; Laura McLaren grew up with a sense of her own worth. But her privileged position did not blind her to the sufferings of her sisters. She argued that all women must be allowed to take their rightful place in political life for the nation to prosper.

Suffragist Lady Laura McLaren

An end to exploitation 

Laura campaigned for an end to the sexual exploitation of girls and young women, rife in the poverty of the period, and to the 'slavery' of women dependent on marriage to survive. She saw that young females without means of supporting themselves and without a vote - without a voice - were vulnerable to abuse.

Suffragist Lady Laura McLaren

Women and work 

An entrepreneur's daughter, Laura grew into an able and confident businesswomen who managed Bodnant estate and garden. She championed women’s role both in the home and in the workforce - and fought for the right to fair pay and conditions.

Suffragist Lady Laura McLaren

Health of the nation 

Laura argued that women as the home makers - the cooks, cleaners and care givers responsible for their well-being of their families - should have a say in the laws which governed the health of their home and their nation.

Laura McLaren

The long fight 

Laura pledged herself to the cause of peaceful suffrage, knowing it would be the work of generations. Her family's fight lasted more than 60 years. Her mother and mother-in-law did not live to see women get the vote, but she and her daughters did.