Women in WWI
Women played an important role in persuading men to join the army.
· Order of the White Feather - In August 1914, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather. This organisation encouraged women to give out white feathers to young men who had not joined the army.
· Propaganda posters - The British Army began publishing posters urging men to become soldiers. Some of these posters were aimed at women. One poster said: "Is your Best Boy wearing khaki? If not, don't you think he should be?" Another poster read: "If you cannot persuade him to answer his country's call and protect you now, discharge him as unfit." The Mothers' Union also published a poster. It urged its members to tell their sons: "My boy, I don't want you to go, but if I were you I should go." The poster added: "On his return, hearts would beat high with thankfulness and pride."
· Active Service League - Baroness Emma Orczy founded the Active Service League, an organisation that urged women to sign the following pledge: "At this hour of England's grave peril and desperate need I do hereby pledge myself most solemnly in the name of my King and Country to persuade every man I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man who, being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country's call."
Pause in Suffrage Campaign
After war was declared, the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) began negotiating with the British government. On the 10th August the government announced that it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. In return, the WSPU agreed to end their militant activities. Some leaders of the WSPU such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney played an important role as speakers at meetings to recruit young men into the army. Millicent Fawcett supported the war effort and famously said 'Women, your country needs you.' However, she opposed conscription and the giving of white feathers. Others like Sylvia Pankhurst and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence were totally opposed to the war and refused to carry out this role or similar. These women used their efforts to bring an end to the war and…