Different Ways of winning the Women's Vote

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Peaceful Methods

Both Suffragettes and Suffragists took part in peaceful protesting methods


  • WSPU published newspaper: Votes for Women, which in 1914 had a circulation of 40,000
  • Slogan 'Votes for Women' was everywhere
  • They used colours like purples, white and greens to sell clothing, dolls and jewellery
  • Bread wrapper even had votes for women on it
  • Made posters, leaflets and postcards

Meetings and Demonstrations

  • Non confrontational public meetings
  • Some were held in Royal Albert Hall, London and Trafalgar Square
  • Many thought it was 'unladylike'
  • Demonstrations grew with numbers over 20,000
  • NUWSS held Women's Pilgrimage in 1913 with thousands of women
  • Newspapers reported pilgrimage favourably
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Peaceful Methods Cont.

Putting Pressure on Parliament

  • The NUWSS drew up petitions
  • 1910: Had over 250,000 signatures for Conciliation Bill
  • Women met with MPs to persuade support
  • Those who supported the women, the women canvassed for

Civil Disobedience

  • You could only vote if you paid taxes so women refused to pay them
  • 1911: The census was boycotted
  • Emily Davison hid herself in a cupboard in the House of Commons
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Violent or Illegal Methods

These methods were carried out by the Suffragettes as they were militant in their actions and could be seen as extremists

Attacking Property

  • Window smashing occurred in Government offices, gentlemen's clubs, newspaper store and shops
  • Emmeline Pankhurst: ' The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics.'
  • 1913: Emily Davison committed arson when planted a bomb in Lloyd George's house
  • Chemicals were poured into letterboxes: This would effect British economy as cheques were sent in the post
  • Slasher Mary destroyed art in galleries
  • Telephone wires were cut
  • 'No votes No golf' was burnt into Golf courses
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Violent or Illegal Methods Cont.

Attacking People

  • 1905: Christabel Pankhurst spat and hit a police office
  • Axe was thrown at the Prime Minister
  • They heckled politicians and disrupted meetings
  • This caused the Liberals to ban them from meetings so women hid in platforms and swung in on ropes

Hunger Strikes

  • 1909: Done to show the women were political prisoners
  • It won sympathy as women were then force fed
  • Some barricaded their rooms so were hosed with cold water
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Which Method Worked Best?

  • The Government banned Suffrage meetings denying peaceful protests
  • It then started to use violence
  • The violence of the women could be said to have turned public opinion against votes for women
  • Peaceful protests had been done for many years and didn't work

Reaction of the Authorities

  • Asquith was against women's votes
  • Most Liberals were in favour of the vote but not very strongly
  • The Government dealt with protesters harshly even before the women used violence
  • Black Friday, 18th November 1910: Occurred when WSPU tried to enter Parliament to support the Conciliation Bill which resulted in Police brutality

Prison Life

  • Prison authorities tried to humiliate suffragettes calling them by numbers and forcing them to empty own 'slop buckets' (waste buckets)
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