The Women's Suffrage Movement. An Introduction. The Campaign for Female Suffrage. February 6 th 1918 The Representation of the People Act decreed : All women over 30 who were married to property owners or who owned property themselves were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections.
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February 6th 1918
The Representation of the People Act decreed :
All women over 30 who were married to property owners or who owned property themselves were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections.
This enfranchised 8 million women
WWI was the most important factor in granting women the vote in 1918. In the words of AJP Taylor it paved the way for democracy.
I think it was the militant tactics of the suffragettes that helped women to get the vote.
The position of women in society was constantly improving after 1850, the vote was just a logical progression of this. The outbreak of WW1 delayed this.
Without the peaceful suffragists, women would not have gained the vote in 1918.
Women got the vote in 1918 as a reward for their work during WW1.
The Conservative Party
Represented the interests of the great landowning families
The Liberal Party
Represented the new middle classes and some working class voters
Many working class voters wanted their own party. This led to the birth of a new party – The Labour Party.
…Women were not allowed to vote in general elections.
Before 1900 most people were against
“If women’s suffrage became a reality, the government of the country would be handed over to a majority who are women. Women are creatures of impulse and emotion and cannot decide questions on the grounds of reason as men do.”
Randal Crenmer M.P.
“Only the most undesirable women want this right. Those women who do their duty to the country by marrying and giving birth to children are well represented by their husbands.”
Winston Churchill, 1895
“We are most anxious to enlist the support of everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of Women’s rights.
Lady Amberly ought to get a good whipping! A woman would become the most disgusting of beings if she were allowed to unsex herself. Where would be the protection which man is intended to give the weaker sex?”
Queen Victoria, 1871
Men saw themselves as the dominators of the Public Sphere- that is the place of work and politics.
The "true woman" was pure, delicate, frail and passive.
Women too emotional to deal with political issues.
Public beliefs of the time
Women’s brains smaller than men’s!
Women did not fight for their country so didn’t deserve the vote!
Women were the Angel in the Home!
The Corset personified the restrictions faced by women in the early 20th century!
Conservatives: Against women voting, worried they would vote for liberal or labour.
Liberals: Many favoured votes for women, however, they feared that if the vote was given to property-owning women, they would vote Conservative – like their husbands.
Labour:, Started in 1900, were in favour of female suffrage but wanted all working class men to get the vote first.
After 1850 the campaign grew for ‘votes for women’.
Second class citizens – suffered inequality in law, work and society.
Using the sources, list as many reasons as you can for WHY women WANTED the VOTE.
From the following slides, take notes under these headings
for BOTH the Suffragists & Suffragettes:
1897 – First UK Suffrage Group
NUWSS brought together women’s suffrage societies from all over Britain into one large organisation.
1913: 50,000 members
Suffragist Pilgrimage, 1913:
Held Pilgrimage to Hyde Park to show govt. they had support for vote. On 26th July, around 50,000 women reached Hyde Park.
Historian Martin Pugh argues that because of the Suffragists quiet persuasion many prominent MPs supported them (such as Lloyd George). BUT, he also states that most MPs gave them only ‘lukewarm’ support.
1903 – Emmeline Pankhurst broke away from the NUWSS to form the WSPU.
1909-1914: Change of tactics
Cat & Mouse Act
Refused to eat
When Suff. deemed too weak to cause harm outside of prison, she would be released
Only re-arrested if re-offended
Davison threw herself in front of George V’s horse at the Derby
She was killed
This was witnessed by a huge crowd & was caught on film
Davison became a martyr for the cause.
Splits in the Movement.
Women’s Freedom League (1907)
Women’s Suffrage Federation (1914)
More detail can be found in keyring cards.
Conciliation Bills (would enfranchise women)
Votes for women getting the vote = 225
Votes against = 88
- Therefore, passes first reading.
1911-1912: Suffragettes wage a violent
campaign against MPs.
Votes for women getting the vote = 208
Votes against = 222
– Therefore, fails second reading.
STICK PRINT OUT INTO JOTTER
Task:Complete a detailed summary of the obstacles which faced the women’s suffrage movement.
Due:Monday 20th August
This summary is for YOUR benefit and as such, the end product will be decided by you. You may wish to make a PowerPoint, mind-map, written report or podcast.
If unsure, see Miss MacKay for advice.
Yeah but, no, but…
History essays demand
argument and analysis.
To prepare us for that, we
will complete a debating task.
As such, we will use evidence
to argue BOTH sides & back
it up with historiography.
ACTIVITY 1: Evaluating & Comparing the
contribution of the Suffragettes & Suffragists.
THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL WHICH YOU WILL
APPLY IN THE EXAM!
Read the following statements:
Yeah but, no, but…
There are 4 sheets on paper in
the room. On each you
MUST apply KU &
E.g. The Suffragists contributed greatly to women gaining to vote.
Prior to WWI the lives of some women began
to change in the following areas:
As women became better educated, they were
no longer viewed as “too stupid” to vote – they
were now thought to be more deserving of the
New white collar jobs gave women sense of
responsibility and they now had ambitions.
Some women wanted to improve their
opportunities and sought the vote in an
attempt to achieve this.
Married Women’s Property Acts 1870 and 1882.
As the law was beginning to improve the rights of
women – women believed that their rights could now
be improved further by gaining the right to vote.
Women were given a small part in politics.
Women were annoyed that they could not
be trusted with this responsibility at
Mrs Pankhurst suspended all
campaigning in order to fully
support the war effort.
During WWI, women filled
the place of men by taking
on jobs previously dominated
The dangers of working in munitions factories
left many women jaundiced and infertile.
There were often explosions which caused the
deaths of large numbers of female workers.
Asquith was PM from
1906-16. The WSPU
hated him before WW1.
In 1918 even he said -
“How could we have
fought and won the war
without them ?”
Women had the opportunity to experience:
Marwick argues that men working beside women and observing their hard work and responsible attitudes fostered a new respect for them. Women now appeared more deserving of the right to vote.
Martin Pugh argues women would have
been given the vote eventually, as Britain
would not want to seem undemocratic and lag
behind other countries – e.g. New Zealand,
Australia and Canada, especially as WW1 was
supposedly fought to preserve democracy.
Arthur Marwick states:
“The war brought a new confidence to
women, removed apathy, silenced the
female anti-suffragists. Asquith was
only the most prominent of the
converts among men. Undoubtedly, the
replacement of militant suffragette
activity by frantic patriotic endeavour
played its part well”.
You will independently complete the following tasks:
Additional support: Keyring notes & textbook
On Friday we will be having a quick fire quiz about what we have learned so far.
You will be required to learn KU, understand analysis and historiography. (If you haven’t already done so!)