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Explain why women failed to gain the vote 1900-1914

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Explain why women failed to gain the vote between 1900 and 1914 Between 1900 and 1914, women faced difficulty in campaigning for their right to vote in the UK. They had already achieved a lot by the 20th century; the right to vote in local elections if they had enough property and were able to serve on education boards and town councils, however they still did not have the right to vote. This caused increased unrest amongst a minority of women in the UK. There were two major organisations dedicated to the women's suffrage with different tactics in their campaigning. In 1897, individual groups campaigning for women's rights formed to create the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), branded the 'suffragists', founded by Millicent Fawcett. This organisation included women from all over the UK, with groups dominated by both middle and working class women. In 1903, a proportion of the NUWSS split off from the organisation and formed the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), branded the 'suffragettes', led by Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester. The NUWSS were non-militant and encouraged peaceful protest in order to raise awareness of women's suffrage by petitioning, handing out leaflets and holding civilised meetings. ...read more.


Some say she was too extreme in drawing attention to the women's suffrage and that it made the women's position in the UK worse. In that same year the suffragettes partly destroyed Lloyd George's house during an arson attack. This was ironic because Lloyd George had been one of the men in Parliament that had actually supported the women's suffrage and so the suffragettes were then seen as unclear of what they truly wanted, and that they were irrational when campaigning for their cause. This development of militancy caused the Government to be put off the women's suffrage. Therefore, more and more women were being arrested and sent to prison, leading to hunger strikes prompting the Government to introduce forcible feeding until the women agreed to eat again. As women were going on hunger strikes, their health was becoming increasingly damaged, especially because of the forcible feeding. Therefore, the Liberals introduced the 'Cat and Mouse' Act in 1913 as part of the Government's plan to discourage the hunger strikes, where they dismissed using forcible feeding and would release the women once they were extremely ill. This took the blame off the Government if any fatalities occurred, and prevented the women from protesting as they were too weak. ...read more.


Even Queen Victoria had claimed a vote for women was 'mad wicked folly' and the Government enforced into education and church that women had no right to vote, causing anyone who supported them to be ridiculed and treated with suspicion. Therefore, this proved to be a large obstacle in the women's suffrage campaigners' way, as they relied heavily on support, especially the NUWSS who used petitioning as their main method of campaigning. In conclusion, women failed to gain the vote between 1900 and 1914 because they had too many obstacles in their way which were hard to overcome. The Government, press, public opinion and the Anti-suffrage league all proved to be a large barrier which could not be moved, decreasing the amount of support the suffrage societies had in the early 20th century. Also, the fact the suffragettes used a more militant, forceful approach to gaining the vote resulting in an extensive amount of damage also affected their reputation as they proved to many people that they were incapable of voting, even though they had a gained a large amount of publicity in doing so. However, the women did finally gain the vote in 1918, whether this was as a result of the suffragettes' militant tactics, or the suffragists' peaceful petitioning, they were able to eventually sway Government opinion. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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