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Changing attitudes to women and their right to vote.

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Introduction

Full Name: Shrina Karia Candidate Number: Centre: Nonsuch High School for Girls Centre Number: 14723 Syllabus: AQA Specification B (Model B) Examination Session: 2204 Title: Changing attitudes to women and their right to vote 1. Explain why women failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914. During the period of 1900-1914, there were various reasons as to why women failed to gain the vote. Traditionally, women were seen as inferior and emotionally weak compared to men in addition to a low place in society. This also reflected their legal rights which were also very limited. For example when a woman married, any land that she owned land would go directly to her husband. Furthermore if a woman then had children she no legal rights over them and if the couple then got divorced she lost all her possessions as well as the children. Thackeray the novelist described the ideal middle-class wife as: 'an exquisite slave, humble, flattering, tea-making, piano-forte-playing being, who laughs at out jokes, coaxes us...and fondly lies to use throughout life.' This was the common view at the time on women and shared by many Victorian men. During and towards the end of the nineteenth century, many improvements were made to the status of the working woman. The was due to the fact that the British economy was at a high point and therefore more opportunities arose for women in jobs such as teaching and clerical work. ...read more.

Middle

I believe this was one of the major set backs that prevented women achieving the right to vote. After being so patient, women could have finally achieved the vote if it wasn't for the violent tactics of the suffragettes. Although the Labour party then grew supportive of the women suffrage campaign women had missed one of the greatest chances they had as to getting the vote. In conclusion I think that it was a combination of factors that prevented women from getting the vote between 1900 and 1914, including the attitudes of politicians and men towards women getting the vote, the inferior role of women in society, the violent tactics of the suffragettes and the prospect of the looming war with Germany. However I think the most important of these reasons which prevented women achieving the vote between 1900 and 1914 was the violent tactics of the suffragettes in campaigning for the vote. This is evident when the the bill was defeated in 1912 by the Liberal party. Without the suffragettes I think that the slow but sure approach of the suffragettes would have eventually helped women to gain the vote. However although it may be one of the most important reasons as to women did not the vote before 1914 it was not the only reason. Even so the suffragettes did help to achieve other good things for women such as fairer divorce laws. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source D shows that women were seen as important in their contribution to the war effort. However the source is only from one magazine and therefore only one view. Despite this, it is a primary source and therefore perhaps more reliable. From my own knowledge I know that this was not the only view concerning the women's war effort as Source E displays. Many men felt bitter towards women as they felt their jobs had been taken. In conclusion I think the war just helped to speed up women's achievement of the vote in 1918. Yes, it was a key factor to women achieving the vote but without the long suffrage campaign which laid the foundation for long term change, I feel that women would not have received the vote. The First World War can be compared to a catalyst which allowed women to justify their need and struggle for the vote through their war effort. We know that it was not the War alone that secured women the vote, as the French women had participated just as much in the war effort in France but were not given the vote afterwards because there had been no suffrage movement and therefore no pressure on the government for change. Therefore the women suffrage movement in Britain before the war is likely to have made a difference. Had there been no was the emancipation of women would inevitably have come through the slow but steady, peaceful tactics of the suffragettes, only much later. ...read more.

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