Britain. gotta love it.
Victorian women had few civil or political rights. They were expected to live up to an image of the perfect being - beautiful, demure, loving and intelligent. Many women actively agreed with this attitude.
But there were a few who disagreed. As the 19th centuary progressed, women were given the right to vote in local elections, own their own property and were allowed to divorce their husbands in certain circumstances.
This was not good enough. In 1866, a number of women signed a petition asking for the vote. This was denied. The Various womens' societies joined together to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. They were called the Suffragists.
In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women's Social and Political Union, who came to be called the Suffragettes, were much more militant.
- The National Union of Women's Suffrage - founded by Millicent Fawcett.
- Peaceful campaigners - Known as suffragists
- Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for women to have the vote. She started the Women's Social and political union in 1903 - Suffragettes - beleived in deeds not words
- Suffrage = right to vote
- Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia were suffragettes
Suffragists and Suffragettes - Key Differences
- Wanted Change sooner
- Hunger strike
- No men
- Wrote letters
- Went on marches
- Men were allowed to join
The suffragette Derby - 1913
Emily Davidson went to watch the race at Epsom. She stood at the tattenham corner. As the horses went by, She ran in front of the kings horse. There is some speculation as to whether she was trying to jump infront of the kings horse to kill herself, disrupt the race, or pin her sash on the horse. She got trampled and died four days later. The Suffragettes seized the oppertunity for some publicity.
Direct Action - 1908
There was some logic behind the Suffragettes' actions - they needed to show the government that female suffrage was a serious issue - one that they could not ignore. This was the aim of their milintancy - a woman getting arrested for her cause was news - processions and petitions were easily ignored.
Reaction to Suffragettes
- Organisations were set up - National league for opposing womens suffrage
- Opposition was not just from men - some women hated the idea
- Such women joined he Anti - Suffrage League
- Newspapers published humourous cartoons
- For women, the campaign was not a joke. Nor was it a joke for the authorities - Violence
- many suffragettes were sent to prison
- once in Prison, many suffragettes went on hunger stike
- The Government couldnt let the Suffragettes starve to death
- Instead, they ordered prisons to force feed them
- this involved pushing a tuube up the nostril and down into the Stomach
- Liquid food was poured down the tube
- This method was babaric and caused uproar
- To calm the outcry, parliament introdced the temporary Discharge for the ill health Act
- The hunger strikers were released when they were weak
- They were re - arrested when back to full health
- this was called the cat and mouse act.
The Cat and Mouse Act
Well thats one topic out of the way...
State of the nation - 1906
- 1906 - Liberal party won a landslide victory - determined to make chages about living conditions
- Many people had a high standard of living
- Majority were poor - there was no welfare state
The Poor People
- 43% of Yorks population lived below the poverty line
- 5 people in an average family
- Alsmost 1/3 of Londoners were below the poverty line
- 40% of recruits for the boer war were unfit
- Seebom Rowntree and Charles Booth
- WORK HOUSE
- Illness/unemployment - meant families fell into poverty
- Link between poverty and early death
Helping the Young
- The new liberal government were keen to ensure that the children of the poor were looked after
- Education was compulsery for children in 1880 but many children stil worked
- Children were often poorly fed and clothed
- Parents could not afford medical treatment
- 1906 - school meals act
- 1907 - school medical service
1908 - Childrens Charter
- Illegal to sell alcohol, tobbaco of fireworks tto children under 16
- Working hours were limeted
- 'Protected Persons' - parents could be prosecuted if they neglected their children
- Borstals were set up to keep young people in custody
- The government set up child care commitees
- The old age pensions Act introduced pensions for people on a low income and over 70
- by 1914, there were almost 1 million pensioners
- The Government was concerned that many men were unemployed or in casual work and frequently getting layed off
- 1909 - scheme set up for labour exchanges were unemployed people could find work and vise versa
- 1911 - National insurance Act
- Unemployment benefits were provided for workers who were sick or unable to work
- The worker, the employer and the government all contributed and the worker received a national insurance stamp
- he could claim sick pay, unemployment benefits and child benefits