The Suffrage Movement Acts

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The Suffrage Movement: Acts
Custody of Children Act, Gave mothers the right of custody of their children under seven, but only if
1839 the Lord Chancellor agreed to it, and only if the mother was of good
Divorce and Matrimonial Allowed for divorce to happen through the law courts instead of by a private
Causes Act, 1857 Act of Parliament, which was slow and very expensive. The husband had to
prove her adultery; the wife had to prove adultery and either bigamy, rape,
sodomy, bestiality, cruelty or longterm desertion as well
First Contagious Diseases Applied to specific named naval ports and garrison towns. It allowed the
Act, 1864 police to arrest prostitutes and order them to undergo an internal
examination. If they were infected with venereal disease, they were detained
until they were cured. If a woman refused, she could be thrown into prison
after a trial in which she had to prove she was virtuous.
Second Contagious Diseases Extended the 1864 Act in that prostitutes in naval ports and garrison towns
Act, 1866 were subject to compulsory threemonthly internal examinations; regular
examinations of suspected prostitutes within ten miles of the named ports
and garrison towns were introduced.
Second Reform Act, Extended the franchise to include householders and lodgers who had been
1867 resident for at least twelve months; included most skilled artisans and tenant
Agricultural Gangs Act, Bans employment of young girls
Third Contagious Diseases Extended the 1966 Act to all garrison towns and allowed suspected
Act, 1869 prostitutes to be locked up for five days before they were examined.
Municipal Franchise Act, Allows unmarried women ratepayers to vote in municipal elections
Education Act, Allows women ratepayers to vote for, and serve on, the new school boards
Forster's Education Act, Introduced a dual system of education, whereby the state provided schools
1870 to fill gaps left by the voluntary sector
First Married Woman's Allowed married women to keep up to £200 in earnings and personal
Property Act, 1870 property
Second Custody of Infants Amended the first Act by indicating that the needs of the child should be
Act, 1873 considered when deciding custody, and allowed mothers to petition for
custody/access to children below the age of 16.
Factory Act, Introduces a maximum tenhour working day for women in factories outside
1874 the textile industry
Sandon's Act, Penalised parents who kept their children away from school
Enabling Bill, Authorising all medical corporations to admit women to their examinations
Factory and Workshop Act, Extends protection of women and young people to all industries
Mundella's Act, Made education compulsory for children under the age of thirteen
Married Women's Property Gave married women control over all the property and money they brought
Act, 1882 with them into the marriage. It also allowed them to carry on with whatever
trade or business they were working in before they married, using their own
property and money
Matrimonial Causes Act, Denied a husband the right to lock up his wife if she refused to have sex with
1884 him
The Reform Act, Added an extra 2.5 million voters to electorate, most of whom were farm
1884 workers and rural craftsmen

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Married Women Women were entitled to apply for maintenance if deserted by their
(Maintenance in Case of husbands, if there was proof of wilful neglect.…read more


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