Sheila Rowbotham

Sheila is a British socialist feminist theorist and writer. Born in Leeds, she had a keen interest in social history from a young age. She attended St Hilda’s College, Oxford and the University of London.

She started out teaching in comprehensive schools and Adult and Higher Education. She became involved in various socialist circles including the Labour Party’s youth wing and the Young Socialists, where she was introduced to Karl Marx’s ideas. As Sheila found herself disengaged from the direction of party politics, she immersed herself in a variety of left-wing campaigns, including writing for the radical political newspaper Black Dwarf.

While working at Ruskin in the 1960s, Sheila was one of the founders of the History Workshop Movement. She oversaw the first Women’s Liberation Conference at Ruskin and, in 1969, published her influential pamphlet Women’s Liberation and the New Politics, which argued that socialist theory needed to consider the oppression of women in cultural as well as economic terms.

In 2004 she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She was Professor of Gender and Labour History at the University of Manchester until her retirement in 2008.

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