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EXPLAIN WHY WOMEN FAILED TO GAIN THE RIGHT TO VOTE BETWEEN 1900 AND 1914.

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Introduction

JACOB HARTLEY EXPLAIN WHY WOMEN FAILED TO GAIN THE RIGHT TO VOTE BETWEEN 1900 AND 1914. There are many reasons why women failed to get the vote during this period, a key one being attitudes to women. By 1900 the Victorian belief still prevailed that women were the weaker sex and needed protection from the harsh political world. Source C states:- "Ever since the world was created, most women have been of weaker mental power than men". (1) Women were seen as intellectually incapable to vote, too emotional and impulsive to make rational decisions. Men dealt with subjects such as war and peace and managing the Empire, things that were outside women's knowledge. Many felt that as women did not do military service they shouldn't vote. Traditionally women were seen as homemakers. Source B states:- "A woman should make a man's home delightful". (2) However many working class women did work hard usually in low status, poorly paid jobs. All women shared a lack of rights. They and their belongings were seen as their husband's possessions, they were barred from most professions and universities. Source A is a woman asking how she is to pay the bills and feed the children. Her husband answers:- "What I do with my money is no business of yours", It was attitudes like these that saw women as second class citizens that kept women disenfranchised. ...read more.

Middle

During this period also the Government were dealing with other problems such as the IRA fighting for home rule and the major industries going on strike. If the Government had given into the violence of the Suffragettes then other groups may have used it also to get what they wanted. There were many reasons that women failed to get the vote the main one being attitudes towards them. Source C (1) The Times in 1867 in reply to the suggestion that women should be allowed to vote Source B (2) Mrs John Sandford, Women in her Social and Domestic Character (1837) Source D (3) Edith Milner writing in the Times October 1906 "WITHOUT THE FIRST WORLD WAR BRITISH WOMEN WOULD NOT HAVE GAINED THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN 1918". DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THIS INTERPRETATION? The First World War was a factor in gaining women the vote but it was not the only factor. It was not until the war that women could prove they were capable of working just as hard as men in what were men's jobs. Women kept the country going while the men were away at war. 3,224,600 women were employed in July 1914 and 4814,600 in January 1918. Over 700,000 worked in dangerous, crucial, munitions factories. They did manual jobs such as unloading coal and joined the Forces as nurses, cooks and drivers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bartley (2) states that:- "It would be na�ve to believe that women received the vote solely for services rendered in the 1st World War". She argues that it was only women over 30 who got the vote. They were not given the vote on the same terms as men. In source C Lord Curzon argued against the vote for women saying that if women got the vote then most voters would be women. This could have been a factor in disenfranchising some women. Not giving the vote to women under 30 shows that the argument that the vote was given as a reward is wrong as it was these women who did many of the most dangerous jobs. The post war period was a good time for women's votes. Franchise reform was needed as many men had been killed during the war or had been away for so long that they lost their right to vote. Many of the men opposed to the vote for women were away at war so there was less opposition in general against women's votes and Asquith was replaced by David Lloyd George who was more sympathetic to women's votes. Also full Democracy was part of a global trend and Britain didn't want to lag behind. Although the war was not the only reason for women getting the vote I agree that without the war women couldn't have got the vote in 1918, it would have taken longer. (1) Constance Rover Women's Suffrage and Party Politics in Britain 1866-1914 (1967) (2) Paula Bartley Votes for Women 1860 - 1928 (1998) ...read more.

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