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How important was World War One in Bringing about the Change of Attitude towards Women and their right to vote?

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Introduction

How important was World War One in Bringing about the Change of Attitude towards Women and their right to vote? There were many reasons why attitudes towards women changed during World War One. The war was such a big deal to everyone in Britain that they stopped doing their usual work to help with the war effort. This included the Suffragettes and the Suffragists. During WWI, men were required to go to the front line. This increase in recruitment to the front line meant that there vast vacancies for women. The female members of the society took over an assortment of jobs. This included working in munitions factories and engineering workshops. All of these jobs were previously protected by qualified and skilled men and trade unions. This opportunity allowed women to prove themselves to men and show them that they are just as good as them. In addition to this, the women were successful in doing this as the government quickly realised that they could not ignore all the work women were doing towards providing help for the soldiers on the front line. The government also realised that they could not win the war without the help of the women. ...read more.

Middle

Sylvia Pankhurst left her mother and sister to campaign against the war. This meant that Emeline and Christabel had now lost one of the co-founders of the Suffragettes. Emeline also said that she was 'ashamed' of her daughter, Sylvia, for not supporting war effort. After the war, women's lives changed a great deal. This is because attitudes had changed; not only in society but also in the government. This is because the earlier government, led by Herbert Asquith, did not consider women as having much importance. It was the new coalition government, under Lloyd George, that helped women gain some respect and importance in society. A prime example of this was that women were not allowed to have important jobs. This change as Lloyd George came into power in 1915. Other than this, there were also further changes seen in the government which favoured women. One of these was the first female MP. This was a good thing as now a woman's opinion could be heard. She was also responsible for voicing out women's issues. This clearly showed that, as a result of the war, the society and government's attitudes had changed. The fact that George and Pankhurst had good relations was another benefit for women as they knew that they would have more of a chance of getting better rights for women. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was mainly due to the male dominated society. To some people, WWI did not bring about many changes. However, this could not be said for people like Emeline Pankhurst. To her, the war was the perfect opportunity to show everyone how useful and adaptable women were, and it also showed everyone their loyalty towards Britain. Though she supported the war, the same could not be said for all women as some women hated the jobs they had to do because it involved horrible working conditions. Even Pankhurst's own daughter, Sylvia, was against the war. As a result she broke away from her mother and sister's campaign. In conclusion, I think that WWI was a great help for women as far as getting the vote was concerned. I think this because the war allowed people to see women from a different, better angle. This was because they witnessed women doing jobs that they would not normally associate with them. The war also helped women gain respect as the sudden stop in the Votes for Women campaign proved that women were not selfish and cared about their nation. WWI also helped to bridge the gap between the classes and genders. However, this seemed to go back to normal once the war was over. Though WWI did not help women with issues like employment, it still helped quite a lot as far as getting the vote was concerned. ...read more.

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