Women of Distinction?

Daily Mail (London), October 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Women of Distinction?


Byline: Vanessa Allen, Marcus Dunk

ROYAL Mail has been condemned for releasing a set of stamps that include controversial family planning pioneer Marie Stopes.

From today her face will appear on the 50p stamp in the Women of Distinction set, which commemorates the achievements of six women.

Stopes was accused of being racist because of her support for eugenics - the 'perfection of the race' through selective breeding.

The Rev Peter Mullen, chaplain to the Stock Exchange, branded Stopes a 'Nazi sympathiser'. He said: 'She campaigned to have the poor, the sick and people of mixed race sterilised.' Here we profile the six women featured in the set.

1 MARIE STOPES (1880-1958) A NAZI-LOVING bigot, her work in family planning has long been tainted by her views on race and eugenics. In 1921, she opened the country's first family planning clinic in London, and gave advice about fertility and contraception.

But her interest in eugenics led to her becoming a passionate admirer of Hitler, and she sent him a love letter and a book of poems.

2 CLAUDIA JONES (1915-1964) ACOMMUNIST and sometime jailbird, Jones was one of the founders of the Notting Hill Carnival..

Born in Trinidad, she moved with her family aged eight to New York, where they lived in poverty in Harlem.

Her involvement with the Communist Party landed her in trouble during the McCarthy era, and after being imprisoned four times, she was deported from the U.S. in 1955.

Britain granted her asylum, and after the race riots in Notting Hill in 1958, she helped set up the carnival to showcase Afro-Caribbean talent.

3 BARBARA CASTLE (1910-2002) AS Employment and Productivity Secretary during the Wilson government, flame-haired Barbara Castle was influential in getting the Equal Pay Act - which prohibits less favourable pay and conditions for women - through parliament in 1970. …

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