British Depth Study: Votes for women

Important things you need for the History paper two exam

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Who and When?

  • The National Union of Women'sSuffrage Societies (NUWSS) - the Suffragists were formed by Millicent Fawcett in 1897. The group was mainly made up of middle-class women


  • The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) - the Suffragettes was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903.


  • The East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS) - was formed by Sylvia Pankhurst (Emmeline Panchurst's daughter) in 1914. The group was made up of working-class women
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The Suffragists

The National Union of Women's Suffrage Society or Suffragists was formed and led by Millicent Fawcett. The group consisted of Middle-class women who wanted the vote.

They campaigned peacefully:

  • Handing out leaflets
  • Holding peaceful protests
  • Built up MP support
  • Bills to the government

People began to agree with votes for women and respected the Suffragists actions. However they did not get the vote until 1918

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The suffragettes

The Women's Social and Political Union or Suffragettes were formed by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903, and also consisted of middle class women. They wanted the vote however they wanted it fast

They campaigned violently:

  • They heckled Politicians
  • Held marches
  • Threw stones at parliament windows
  • Chained themselves to railings
  • Held hunger strikes
  • Set building alight
  • Slashed paintings
  • Threw bombs

They were often arrested at put in jail, however they held hunger strikes. In 1913 one Suffragette, Emily Davidson ran in front of the kings horse and was killed.
This may have got the attention more than the NUWSS, however it caused many to change their minds on the vote as they saw the Suffragette actions as threatening

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Why did women get the vote?mkkkk

In 1918 the Representation of the people Act gave women over 30 the vote

There are a number of ideas as to why they got the vote:

  • The suffragettes: Many politicains and others could not face a return to suffragettes violence after the war
  • The war: Women had played a big role in the war efforts, they had proved they could go to war with men.
  • Sylvia Pankhurst: In June 1914, she famously took a delegation of working class women to lobby Prime Minister Asquith who did not think that working class women were intelligent enough to have the vote. This proved to Asquith that working class women were intelligent enough to vote.
  • The suffragists: Long term persuasion of the suffragists is argued to have got them the vote. In 1916, lloyd George became Prime minister and he supported votes for women

The reasons above are all historians views on why the vote was passed and there is no specific answer to the question. Remember in 1928 women got to vote from the age of 21

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