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Gladys Pott, 1917
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gladys Pott (1867 – 13 November 1962) was an English anti-suffragist and civil servant. Daughter of the Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Venerable Alfred Pott, and his wife Emily née Gibbs, little is known of Gladys’s formative years except that she was privately educated.[1][2] She became a committed anti-suffragist, and in 1908 she was appointed secretary of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League (north Berkshire branch).[1] As a result of her organisational ability, Berkshire became a “stronghold of female anti-suffragism”.[3] In 1910 the league joined with the Men’s League for Opposing Woman Suffrage to form the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage (NLOWS), with Lord Cromer as president. Gladys joined the executive committee of the organisation, becoming its secretary between 1913 and 1914.[4] In 1912 she wrote The Anti-Suffrage Handbook of Facts, Statistics and Quotations for the Use of Speakers, to be used by members of the league.[5]

Gladys believed that most ordinary women had no interest in being able to vote, and conducted small-scale polling exercises to support that position. She further believed that the suffragists would not in the end be content with limited voting rights for women, and would go on to demand full adult suffrage. But she and the other anti-suffragists were fighting a “rearguard action”, and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw her abandon anti-suffragism.[1] Together with her friend Dame Meriel TalbotBritish public servant and women's welfare worker, (1866–1956). she worked to organise the Women’s Land Army, and between 1916 and 1919 worked at the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries as an inspector in the women’s branch.[1] Between 1920 and 1937 she became the secretary and chair of the Society for the Oversea Settlement of British Women.[6]

Gladys was appointed an OBE in 1923 and a CBE on her retirement in 1937. She never married. On 13 November 1961 she died at the age of 94 at her home in Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire.[1][2]

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