‘To succeed in life, you must give life’ Eglantyne Jebb once wrote. But she herself did not give life in the traditional way expected of a well-to-do Edwardian lady – by marrying and having a brood of children. In fact Jebb confessed she was not fond of children, once calling them ‘the little wretches’, and looking back she claimed that ‘the dreadful idea of closer acquaintance never entered my mind’.
Instead Jebb chose to ‘give life’ from a strategic distance by setting up the Save the Children Fund at the end of the First World War. She went on to write the pioneering statement of children’s human rights that has since evolved into the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most universally accepted human rights instrument in history.
In this seminar Clare Mulley, the author of a new and award-winning biography of Eglantyne Jebb, looks at the life, work and motivations of her subject, one of the great pioneers of children’s rights and welfare, whose fabulous name has all but been forgotten today.