The women pro-Boers: gender, peace and the critique of empire in the South African war


  • The research for this article was funded by a British Academy Small Grant. The author is also grateful to the copyright holder for permission to quote from Kate Courtney's papers and to the anonymous reviewers and James Bothwell for their comments on earlier versions of this article.


Despite a substantial historiography on the ‘pro-Boers’, the role of women in the British campaigns against the South African war has never been systematically examined. This article discusses women's activism through the two main pro-Boer organizations, the Stop the War Committee and the South Africa Conciliation Committee, and through Liberal women's organizations. It examines women pro-Boers' arguments and attitudes to both pacifism and imperialism. Finally it considers the gender aspects of the pro-Boer campaigns, the development of distinctively feminist arguments against war, and the effects of the war on the British women's suffrage movement.