Women and the Vote

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Befor 1900

  • Nearly all working class women went out to work
  • Paid less than men for the same jobs
  • Some middle class women went to university but could not be awarded a degree
  • New jobs opening up to the women such as teacers, nurses, doctors and typists but not allowed to work in banks or as lawyers
  • By 1900 there were some improvements to women's positions in marriage : could now get a divorce and were allowed to keep property after marriage but in many ways the man still ruled the home and had more rights over women
  • Many people still believed that men and women had different 'spheres': men in war and politics and women in home and family 
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For and Against the vote

For

  • Remove inequality
  • Many women were already doing the same jobs as men so n
  • deserve the same rights to vote
  • Women were becoming more active oin politics as councilors and campaigners proving they were capable of thinking about politics
  • More and more men had gained the right to vote in the 1800s - should be the turn of women

Against

  • Many believed that men and women had different roles in life
  • Some said few women wanted the vote
  • Others said they were already represented by their husbands
  • Others said women's role was getting involved in the local communiy not what the country should and should not do
  • WOmen did not fight for their country so should not vote
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Who campaigned?

Suffragists (NUWSS)

  • Aimed to get women the vote
  • Founded in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett united local women's suffrage societies all over Britain into one national union
  • By 1914 they had over 100000 members, both working and middle class, male and female
  • They used peaceful methods used to attract attention - petitions, meetings, writing letters to mps

Suffragettes (WSPU)

  • Same aim as suffragists
  • Founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and daughters Christabel and Sylvia
  • Only female members - mainly middle and upper class
  • Formed out of impatience and frstration with peaceful methods not achieving anything
  • Women used attacks on poverty, people, disruption of meetings and hunger strikes - all to attract attention to their case
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Main Events

1906 - new liberal government: suffragettes protested about the right to vote but were arrested

1908 - new Prime-Minister Asquith told women to prove there was public support for them having the vote: both groups organised marches but Asquith did nothing so in response the suffragettes smashed windows in downing street - a split developed between the 2 organisations

1909 - suffragettes were sent to prison because they were not treated as political prisoners they went on hunger strike - the government force fed them which created controversy

1910 - suffragettes called off their violent protests when Asquith agreed to work with them to provide a conciliation bill (law to give women the vote)- when Asquith stalled they protested leading to black friday where they were physically and sexually assaulted by the police on their march

1911 - suffragettes restarted their campaign of violenve when govt dropped the idea of women getting the vote

1912 - suffragettes began a campaign of window smashing and hunger strikes

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Main Events (Continued)

1913 - violence increased: buildings bombed, cat and mouse act introduced (women went on hunger stike and were released when they became ill and then rearrested when they recovered)

June 1913 -Emily Davison killed herself at the Derby by running out in front of the King's race horse

1914 - violence esculated and so public opinion moved firmly against suffragettes

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How effective were the suffragettes and suffragist

Suffragists

  • Peaceful protest had helped force politicans to talk about women having the vote on 15 different occasions befor 1906
  • Their approach earned some respect and made women appear reasonable and capable of using their vote sensibly
  • Although politicians talked about giving women the vote the house of commons rejected bills to turn it into law every time - peaceful protest didn't achieve its aims

Suffragettes

  • Violent action brought a lot of publicity and showed men how determined women were
  • Their actions gave opponents an excuse not to give women the vote saying it would be giving in to violence
  • Also turned many politicians, newspapers and public opinion against women
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How effective were the suffragettes and suffragist

Suffragists

  • Peaceful protest had helped force politicans to talk about women having the vote on 15 different occasions befor 1906
  • Their approach earned some respect and made women appear reasonable and capable of using their vote sensibly
  • Although politicians talked about giving women the vote the house of commons rejected bills to turn it into law every time - peaceful protest didn't achieve its aims

Suffragettes

  • Violent action brought a lot of publicity and showed men how determined women were
  • Their actions gave opponents an excuse not to give women the vote saying it would be giving in to violence
  • Also turned many politicians, newspapers and public opinion against women
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How did women finally get the vote?

During the war both groups helped the govt to recruit and organise women workers for the war. This earned the women respect an credibility. In 1916 the govt had to change the voting laws. In Feb 1918 a new law was passed giving the vote to women over 30.

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