History British Depth Study- Women's Suffrage


OCR GCSE History- British depth study 1890-1918. 

The campain for womens suffrage.

In Victorian times women were seen as inferier to men, had the status of a child and were not protected under the law. However, during the late 1800s women began to earn more status and many believed they should have the right to vote in national elections. 

Changing roles of women 

During the late 1800s womens right began to improve. Examples of this include: 

  • In 1882 parliment passes the married women's property act, allowing married women to own their own money and property. 
  • In 1884 married women were recognised as individuals rather than possesions of their husbands. 
  • It became much easier for a women to get a divorce, and if the marridge broke up women were able to become the childrens' legal guardian. 
  • Eduaction and more desirable jobs such as nursing and teaching became much more widely avalible.

The Suffragists 

The Suffragists (the National Union of Women's Suffrage Society) was formed in 1897 by Millicent Fawcett. It was a national organisation that was made up of mainly middle-class women campaigning for the vote. Their methods were peaceful and included: 

  • Sending petitions to parliment - in 1903 a petition of 67000 workers was sent to parliment. 
  • Holding meetings- in 1911 40000 meeting (30 a day) were held in support of the conciliation bill. 
  • Peaceful demonstations - in 1911 the Suffragists held a peaceful pilgrimage from Carlisle to London, offering free membership for working class women. 
  • Propaganda- produced posters and leaflets to support their cause. 

The Suffragettes 

The Suffragettes (the Women's Social and Political Union) was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. It was a smaller organisation that had approximatley 2000 members in 1914. Their methods were more militant and violent and included: 

  • Smashing windows, chaining themselves to railings outside parliment, heckling MPs, disrupting meetings, arson, destroying paintings. 
  • One Suffragette, Emily Davison, was killed whilst trying to pin a banner to the King's horse in the 1913 derby. 
  • The government responded to the suffragette's violence by inprisioning the offenders. Whilst in prision Suffragettes would often go on hunger strike, the government then force fed them. This was highly critised so in 1913 parliment passed 'the cat and mouse act', where prisioners on hunger strike could be released then re-arrested when…


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