Margaret Grace Bondfield was an English Labour politician and feminist, the first woman Cabinet minister in the United Kingdom and one of the first three female Labour MPs. Like many other figures of the Labour movement, Bondfield was a Non-Conformist,.
Bondfield was born in Chard, Somerset, the eleventh child of Anne and William Bondfield, a textiles worker with left-wing views. She began an apprenticeship at the age of 14 in a draper's shop in Brighton, where a customer, Louisa Martindale, befriended her; Martindale took her under her wing, helped educate her, and lent her books on left-wing politics.
In 1894, she moved to London and was elected to the Shop Assistants' Union district council.
In 1896, the Women's Industrial Council commissioned her to investigate the pay and conditions of shop workers, and she published a report on this in 1898. In 1898, she was elected assistant secretary of the Shop Assistants' Union and in 1908 became secretary of the Women's Labour League. She was President of the Trades Union Congress General Council in 1923.
In 1923, Bondfield was elected Labour Member of Parliament for Northampton at her third attempt but lost her seat in the general election a year later. She again stood for election in 1926, this time at a by-election in the Wallsend constituency. She was appointed Minister of Labour by Ramsay MacDonald on 8 June 1929, the first time that a woman had been made a Cabinet Minister in Britain.
Broadly speaking, I learned to recognize sin as the refusal to live up to the enlightenment we possess: to know the right order of values and deliberately to choose the lower ones: to know that, however much these values may differ with different people at different stages of spiritual growth, for one's self there must be no compromise with that which one knows to be the lower value.