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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleRecords of the Maternity Alliance
Ref No5MAL
Box Fetch NoBoxes 1-36; PC 6.6
Extent36 A boxes, 4 OS objects
Admin Biographical HistoryMaternity Alliance (1980-2005) was a national charity working to improve rights and services for pregnant women, new parents and their families, created in 1980 through the support of three organisations (National Council for One-Parent Families, The Spastics Society and Child Poverty Action Group) and individual campaigners, all concerned with issues surrounding poverty, pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. The Maternity Alliance was established as an alliance of organisations and individuals in response to inequalities in treatment outcomes and the need for support for pregnant women and families on low income. The focus of the organisation's work shifted over time to take into account social, medical and economic changes, in particular the perceived increase in the number of women who combined pregnancy and parenthood with work. Initially the organisation operated as a collective - the staffing structure was 'flat' without a hierarchy and with all staff on the same pay scale - though this changed over time. The organisation's priority in 2004 was to support families who were disadvantaged - talking to mothers & fathers about their experiences, working to find solutions to their needs and raising awareness of how to improve services and support during pregnancy, birth and the first year of life. The Maternity Alliance was a non-party-political campaign group that was very vocal on behalf of groups that did not traditionally have a voice within the political and health provision arenas. As such, MA was seen as being 'edgy' and more radical than other bodies working on the issues around maternity. The organisation ceased operating in Dec 2005, due to a financial crisis.
In 2008 Maternity Action was formed to take forward the work of the Maternity Alliance, in particular the 'Reaching Out Project, Medact'.
DescriptionThe archive consists of the organisation's archives and Maternity Alliance (MA) publications. It includes Annual Reports and Accounts, the papers for the Annual General Meetings, the Minutes of the Executive and Management Committees and the papers of the working parties and subcommittees that reported to them, a complete set of the MA monthly newsletter, MA publications (including reports, fact-sheets, training notes, booklets and books), Directors' working papers (Christine Gowdridge), press cuttings, posters, a MA clock, an award.

The records reflect the organisation's work in:
* Education (this includes educating employers and individuals of what was existing legal provision for maternity, but also education related to campaigning to reduce inequality in maternity provision, including lobbying government and trade unions for key changes in maternity provision);
* Research into and support for specific groups (ethnic minorities; travellers; teenagers; asylum seekers; disabled etc);
* Publications: Creating publications to support the above work;
* Training: Creating published training resources and providing training sessions for those who worked with target communities (i.e. those who worked with parents on rights and benefits such as the DSS; Social workers; Advice groups and charities);
* Policy and Project Work (such as a Teenage Pregnancy Project which includes a resource and training pack);
* Advisory Services (through the web site; through key publications; and through the Advice Line);
* Conferences (particularly research based courses to highlight specific campaigns).

Abbreviations referred to in the archive:
DWG Disability Working Group
F&GP Finance and General Purposes Committee
LWG Legal Working Group
MA Maternity Alliance
MC Management Committee
EC Executive Committee
MECWG Minority Ethnic Community Working Group
TUWP Trades Union Working Party
Related MaterialThe Women's Library Printed Collections include a significant deposit from the Maternity Alliance Library [7 transfer boxes of non-MA publications were donated by MA to TWL from the MA Library in Dec 2005. The publications came from a variety of sources and were all based on the subject of maternity provision for marginalised women. Many of the publications were created by charities or lobbying groups. Most of the material was small pamphlets, booklets or leaflets rather than books. Some of the MA Library duplicated that of the TWL printed collections and was therefore not selected. The deposit represented a significant gap in TWL Printed Collections as at 2005 of maternity provision for marginalised women]. In addition, The Women's Library Printed Collections hold a number of publications by Maternity Alliance, including its newsletter.
The Women's Library Museum Collection includes TWL.2004.707 Maternity Emergency National Rally badge.
The UK Web Archive, provided by The British Library (with input from The Women's Library) preserved 'snapshots' of the Maternity Alliance website from 2007 - see
Related Record5OPF
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThis collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library @ LSE in advance of their first visit.
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