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The changing role and status of women in Britain since 1900.

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Introduction

Hannah Greenslade 02/02/03 Coursework Assignment: The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain since 1900 Explain why women failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914 During this piece of exploratory writing, I am going to look at the different reasons for why women failed to win the vote from 1900-1914 and what in particular led to this. The Suffragists, despite their determination, were not dynamic enough in their actions to secure the vote for women from 1900-14. The Suffragists were the early (mainly middle class) campaigners for women's suffrage (votes for women). Their methods were legal and peaceful, they did not believe in violent protests to get their point heard. They were made up of a number of suffrage societies across the country, which came together in 1897 to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), led by Millicent Fawcett. They used many peaceful tactics such as running meetings, holding processions, leading a deputation to the Prime Minister, public debates and petitions; all of which they achieved between 1905-10. They had a number of successes in the early 1900s. By 1900, they had the support of more than half of MPs and in the following two years secured the support of many working class women as well. Although the suffragists failed to gain women the vote, they made a significant start to the women's suffrage campaign. ...read more.

Middle

The Liberal party gained a landslide victory over the Conservatives in 1906 and they set about reforming the country, introducing much new legislation such as Old Age Pensions and the National Insurance Act. There were preparations also for the possibility of war. Many politicians felt that these were issues that should have been given higher priority and more attention than votes for women. The women's suffrage campaign was disadvantaged because of the very traditional view on the role of women and their place in society at that time. Women were expected to stay in the home, looking after the children and the household if they were married, while the men took up jobs and earned money for the family. Only one in seven married women worked, and this was only in jobs such as Domestic service, textiles and clothing. Things had improved a lot during the second half of the 19th Century, with new girls schools opening and various professions such as medicine opening their doors to women, but many people were still not prepared to grant women equality to men in areas such as politics. Many people believed that women could not be trusted with the vote, (although there were many exceptions) that they were not rational enough to make responsible decisions and that the vote would lead them to neglect their home and family. ...read more.

Conclusion

When it was over, the campaigns started to show signs of returning. The government knew this had to be prevented and one way of doing this would have been to give the campaigners what they wanted; the vote for women. The government thought that if any women were going to vote, it should be those older, married women who had done less in the War, were not after jobs in the industry, and would probably vote as their husbands did. The government was beginning to resign itself to the prospects of women's suffrage, but still believed younger women to be unstable and likely to want to dominate politics. They were not yet prepared to give all women the vote and they wanted to maintain an element of control over them, so they granted the vote to all women over 30, and all men over 21. Women of this age would not be allowed the vote until 1928. Obtaining the vote was an important step forward for women in the early 20th Century. It helped them to bring about wider social changes and improvements in the position and status of women such as being granted equality in divorce cases and professions such as the Civil Service opening their gates to them. The result was more respect for women who would prove themselves worthy of an equal place in society. 1672 I love Miss Helena Brazier who is engaged to be married to someone else ...read more.

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