Over the Glass Cliff: The First Female Cabinet Minister, 1929–1953

  • Paula Bartley


In 1929, Margaret Bondfield was appointed the first ever woman Cabinet Minister. It was an unpropitious time: the Wall Street Crash had sparked off what came to be known as the Great Depression. Bondfield was Minister of Labour, responsible for unemployment benefits at a time of growing unemployment. This chapter examines how Bondfield and the Labour Government tried—and failed—to cope with this crisis. Eventually, the Labour Government resigned and Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government. Margaret Bondfield refused to join it and lost her seat in the following election, never to return to Parliament. The chapter concludes with a discussion of her achievements.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Bartley
    • 1
  1. 1.Stratford-upon-AvonUK

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