• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Attitudes toward women and their right to vote had changed by 1918. How important was the First World War in bringing about this change?

Extracts from this document...


Attitudes toward women and their right to vote had changed by 1918. How important was the First World War in bringing about this change? There were many reasons why women got the vote in 1918. The work of suffragists and suffragettes were very important. However, some historians claim that without the activities of the suffragists and the suffragettes, the idea of giving women the vote may not have been considered in 1918. One of the most important reasons that women got the vote in 1918 is because of the suffragettes' efforts. In 1915, Britain was short of industries workers, and munitions workers because there were so many men leaving to fight in Europe. Britain's role in the war might have ground to a halt since food, armaments, and clothing for men were desperately short. The obvious answer was to recruit women to fill the gaps and the WSPU stopped all in 1914 militant action to support the war effort with the government. The government and the suffragettes worked together wonderfully to encourage women to go out to work. In fact, the number of women who were in employment was only about five million in 1914, however at the end of the war this had gone up to just over six million. ...read more.


Therefore meetings were still held and petitions were still signed to ensure that pressure was kept on Parliament during the war. Accordingly, the work of the suffragists and suffragettes were very important in the campaign for women. Not only the work done by the suffragettes and the suffragists were reasons why women got votes in 1918, but also the work done by women during the war was an important factor in gaining the vote. The First World War transformed the position of women in society. During the First World War, industries, and especially munitions, were short of workers. Food, clothing and armaments had to be provided for fighting men. Also so many men were away fighting in the war that there weren't enough people to do vital jobs. Therefore, women were encouraged to work and fill the gap that men left, by the government and the suffragettes. Women worked on all sort of things. For instance, women worked as tram drivers, laboratory assistants, munitions workers, police officers and house painters etc. Accordingly, many men were genuinely impressed by women's contribution to the war effort. They had shown that they were mature and sensible, and were capable of doing most jobs. Mostly importantly they showed that they can keep their country going without men's aid. ...read more.


In conclusion, I believe that the suffrage movement for women in 1918 was the combined result of what women did before the war and during the war as well as a shake-up of the voting system and Lloyd George's replacement of Asquith as Prime Minister. One of the long term effects for this is the violence by the suffragettes, which occurred before the war. It also caused the post-war apprehension of the people who did not want another conflict. On the other hand, the suffragists employed petitions, persuasions and meetings to raise the issue of voting rights for women and made people getting used to the idea, eventually leading them to accept it. For the first short-term consequence, the work of women during the war enabled them to get the vote by showing that they could do work like men. They worked in the munitions factories which were directly related to the war effort. This disproved the arguments that 'women do not fight to defend their country', proved that they were sensible and clever enough to get the vote and shattered the misconception of women being ruled by their menstrual cycle. Secondly, it was an opportune time to include women's suffrage when the voting system was changing anyway. Also Lloyd George, who is willing to help women to vote, became a prime minister in 1916. Hye Rin Ra 20th.Feb.04. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. How did world war one change the role and status of women in England ...

    This source proves that even though many women were at first reluctant to join the war effort. By the time it was over many didn't want to return to their lives of cooking and cleaning so jobs such as toy making which they not only enjoyed but they were good at proved a positive way to go.

  2. Attitudes towards women and their right to vote had changed by 1918. How important ...

    Factory jobs that the men had left were also becoming popular for women. Employers were reluctant to take on women at first because they thought that women would not have the necessary skills and feared trouble from the unions. The country however, became desperate for women workers, especially in munitions

  1. Why did women fail to gain the vote between 1900-1914?

    The trade unions had not changed their attitudes much. They were still very suspicious towards the women. They believed that the women who were given jobs in the munitions factories would not leave after the war, as they would undercut the wages of the men coming back from the front.

  2. Role of women during the First World War

    By 1915, 2,466,719 men volunteered into service and women seized this chance to get employed and show that they are as capable of men. The number of men going to the front caused the increasing demand in war economy. This led to the rise of female employment in 1915.

  1. How important were Haig's tactics in bringing an end to WW1?

    From October to December the French staged a counter-attack at Verdun and succeeded in recapturing Forts Douaumont and Vaux (November 2), restoring the situation that had prevailed before February. In August, Hindenburg replaced Falkenhayn as German chief of staff with General Erich Ludendorff.

  2. Women and the Vote


  1. Source Work- Women in World War 1

    Similarly, source 6 shows women working in factories and munitions trades as is implied by the above statement. Although, the sources contained within source 6 are forms of propaganda, they give an insight to the hard work of the women and number s of women who were contributing.

  2. Did The First World War Liberate British Women?

    the desperation of the country and its need for the women's help. When the War broke out, the Suffragettes suspended their protests and demonstrations, which had caused the Government many hassles. They took about the view as said in B2 "What would be the good of the vote without a country to vote in?"

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work