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ATTITUDES TOWARDS WOMEN AND THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE HAD CHANGED BY 1918. HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN BRINGING ABOUT THIS CHANGE?

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Introduction

Eliot Proctor QUESTION 2- ATTITUDES TOWARDS WOMEN AND THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE HAD CHANGED BY 1918. HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN BRINGING ABOUT THIS CHANGE? In early 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which meant that people over the age of 30 or were over 21 householders or wives of householders were allowed to vote. This showed that woman's effort in the war had changed attitudes but before campaigns had always failed. Yet attitudes about women had been changing slightly before hand as there were improvements in jobs, home life and education especially. Women had the chance to work as nurses, in shops, teaching and office work, although there were still restrictions in pay, hours and promotion. Education had been improving as girls were being taught, but only the necessary skills for finding husbands, such as needlework, dancing and etiquette. Family life had been improving as acts were brought in for single women to get custody of their children, own property and keep their pay. This shows improvements and a change in attitudes. The only attitude which had not yet changed was giving women the vote. Even with the two women's suffrage movements in the public eye, they still failed to get the vote. Although, women's effort during the war was definitely a reason why attitudes towards them were changing. ...read more.

Middle

Servants did not need much too persuade them, as wages and conditions in factories were better. This showed that the role women played during the war to men that women were actually responsible and this changed attitudes towards giving women the vote. The women's work during the war led to a change in attitude as they proved they were just as capable as men and therefore worthy of getting the vote, just as men did. In 1917, Ex. Prime Minister, Asquith, commented: "How could we have carried on the war without them?", "We see them doing work which three years ago we would have regarded as being exclusively men's work", "When the war is over the question will then arise about women's labour and their function in the new order of things. I would find it impossible to withhold from women the power and right of making their voices directly heard". This shows attitudes had changed. An article from the Observer paper in 1916 said: "Time was when I thought that men alone maintained the State. Now I know that men alone never could have maintained it and that henceforth the modern State must be dependent on men and women alike..." Millicent Fawcett wrote in 1916 in the 'common cause' magazine: "Former men opponents are now declaring themselves on our side or at any rate withdrawing their opposition"; "The view has been widely expressed that...exclusion of women from representation after the war will... ...read more.

Conclusion

The Suffragettes were more peaceful and calm about the way they went with their petitions, leaflets and arguing their case with MP's. They gained public support and most MP's agreed also, but they were seen as too moderate. On the other hand, the Suffragists were radical and violent, for instance slashing paintings, being chained to railings and harassing Ministers. They looked like they were untrustworthy and aggressive, as this did not help the situation. Yet they could not be ignored as they kept their issue and female suffrage in the public eye. Women's actions during the war were probably the most important reason in bringing about the change in attitude in 1918 as they proved very much that they were as capable as men and could most definitely do the jobs men did. MP's felt they could not ignore the issue after their effort and felt that women should have an input also. However, they would have probably gained the vote eventually, except it would have taken longer if it wasn't for the war. Although war was the main reason there were other reasons which changed the attitudes about women, such as before 1914 the improvements in careers, education, and family. Also the work of the Suffragists and Suffragettes helped gain women the vote. Yet if war hadn't happened and women hadn't shown they were just as good as men, this attitude of women would have been going on much longer and therefore in gaining the vote would have taken longer to be a success. ...read more.

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