Julia Almond OSNU reflects upon the 100th anniversary of the success of women's suffrage (2018), and Spiritualism's contribution to gender equality.

As we celebrate a hundred years of some women over 30 gaining the vote, it is good to reflect on the role of women in Spiritualism. Modern Spiritualism started with the Hydesville Rappings in 1848 where the Fox sisters were centrally involved in the initial phenomena which brought the wonder of spirit communication to a wider audience. As Spiritualism grew, women played an important and unusual role in Victorian times, giving Spiritualist philosophy talks in public to large numbers in a mixed audience.  In this way a number of women gained a status which helped bring the the role of women in society to the fore. It was through the mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten that the Seven Principles of Spiritualism were developed. Emma also spoke about the importance of educating women and giving them an active role in society. A pamphlet written by Emma in 1858 exhorts women “to arise in thy strength, in thy spirituality and make for thyself a place in future generations.”

The first female President Jessie Greenwood (pictured) took office as early as 1923 to 1925. When the SNU started to ordain Ministers in 1939, women were fully involved.

In Spiritualism we value the unique perspective and contribution of each individual, recognising the vital importance of the spirit within which links us each with one another and to our Father God. The recognition of the value of each and every individual and the search for equality for all has been a central strand in Spiritualism’s philosophy.

Julia Almond OSNU