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Source based questions - Representation of the People Act 1918 - women given the right to vote and to stand for parliament

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Introduction

d) Study Sources H, I and J and use your own knowledge 'It was the work that women did during the war that earned them the vote'. Use the sources and your own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this interpretation. Under the Representation of the People Act 1918, some eight and a half million women were given the right to vote and to stand for parliament. There are many arguments that could be put forward that agree and disagree with this statement shown in the above question. Some would agree with this view, saying that, without the work that the women did during the war they would never have received the vote, that, in the end, the suffragette campaign that took place before the war did not have any significant role in winning women the vote. However others would argue that, even though the work performed by the women during the war was of great support to the war effort it did not contribute much, in any way, to the fact that women were allowed to vote soon after the war ended. Still more could argue that it was combination of these two, as well as perhaps other factors that enabled women to finally receive the vote that they so vehemently sought. Often, before the war, sympathisers for the suffragette cause had been turned against their campaign due to the methods that the suffragettes used and this hindered their cause greatly, losing support as fast as it was gained meaning that even after many years they had not made any progress towards receiving the vote. ...read more.

Middle

them were evicted with absolutely no qualms whatsoever by those in charge showing that there was a distinct ungratefulness felt by many about the work that the women had done during the war. Many men feared that women would take over the work place and put them out of their jobs so a animosity, tension and resentment began to form between these men who worried over their livelihoods and the women who were pushed aside out the first opportunity to return to a way a life they thought had been left behind at the beginning of the First World War. This would further confirm the point that Source H is trying to make: that women received the vote after the war was due to the fact that it was they who had raised the soldiers who had fought in the war and this was seen as a loyal service for their country, not the work they did for the country during the war, this is an example of exactly how entrenched preconceptions about women where. The source suggests that the vote was given to women as a reward for what was seen as their loyal service to the country in raising the younger generation of fighting men: we can see this from quotes such as, "Politicians themselves agreed with the idea that the women who had brought up children successfully had performed a service for the government which could be rewarded by giving the vote to such loyal citizens". ...read more.

Conclusion

were happening as a result of the war", it is pointing out that women's rights was not the only upheaval happening at this time, due to the immense change in peoples attitudes because of the war great changes were happening all around the country concerning previously held preconceptions and stereotypes, and that the renewed interest for women's rights was just one of these. Source I implies that it wasn't just the work carried out by women during the war, although this was a factor, it was the actuality that the entire mood in the country had changed at this time, peoples views had been altered by what the war had created and this allowed women to create new views of themselves in the eyes of people, to ingratiate themselves into these new views in a positive way. In conclusion I think that it is only fair to say that in the case of the statement shown above the fact that women were awarded the vote soon after the war is not simply due to a single factor but to a multitude of factors including the suffragette campaign, the war work and a change in the attitudes and preconceptions held by those in Britain. However, it is also safe to say that, because of the fact that only a very limited spread of women in the country received the vote, much of the stereotyping and prejudgment of women had yet to be broken down before women could truly be seen as equals in the eyes of many. Anthony Sharrock 11WX ...read more.

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