- Created by: Leagh Rose
- Created on: 11-05-11 13:50
The importance of their contribution during the Great War.
- Main women's organisations suspended their campaigns after outbreak of war WSPU actively urged men to joined armed forces and encouraged women to demand "the right to serve"
- Women's war work - vital to Britain's eventual victory - over 700,000 women employed in munitions.
- Traditional view - women given the the vote as reward for efforts during the war, a "thank you" However, in 1918, vote was given to women aged 30 and over - yet, munitions, workers were largely young, single women below 30, they did not get the vote.
- Also, in France, women had worked equally hard for the war effort, but did not gain the vote.
- Can be argued political advantage is a better explanation - fears of a revitalised suffragette campaign.
- Politicians anxious to enfranchise more men who had fought in the war, but had lost their residency qualification - easier to "add on" women in legislation which was happening anyway.
- Women clearly gained respect during war - balancing negative publicity.
- Women increasingly active in public affairs - in town councils etc, further change seemed inevitable.
- Trade union membership - became more politically aware - campaigning for better working conditions.
- Historians such as Martin Pugh have pointed out that women's active participation in local councils, etc, made it increasingly difficult to justify their exclusion from national elections.
- Vote awarded to more men, therefore inevitable women should gain the vote.
- Seen as a way of giving women the vote without radical reform.
- More sympathetic to the cause in Government.
- Government did not want renewal of Suffragette activities.
- "It was obvious that the suffragette campaign would recommence once the war was over. It would have been extremely embarrassing to imprison women who had played such an important part in the war effort." Historian Constance Rover.
Role of the NUWSS
- Persuasive campaign of meetings, pamphlets, petitions and parliamentary bills introduced by supportive MP's - showed that substantial numbers of politicians had accepted principle of women's suffrage.
- Peaceful tactics and education - showing women could be respectable and responsable.
- NUWSS also provided a "home" for women angered by the suffragettes during their "wild period"
- NUWSS had 53000 members in 1914 - largest organisation
- Women drawn together and united in campaign - gave them an identity which they did not previously have.
Role of the WSPU
- First objective was publicity for their campaign - can be argued that much of this publicity was negative - cause lost support because of tactics and methods adopted.
- However, can aalso be argued that, without the suffragettes, liberal government, would not have discussed the issue at all.
- WSPU brought issue of votes for women to crisis point - made it issue in which could not be ignored.
- "The suffragettes were in the news every other day and were putting their lives in danger so that women