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The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain Since 1900.

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Introduction

History Coursework The Changing Role and Status of Women in Britain Since 1900 1. Prior to 1900, women were given hardly any rights; they did not have the right to vote. Those that were married had even less as it was believed that all of your possessions effectively belonged to your husband, and women were very much thought as being inferior to men. Only in the 1850s and 1860s did the first women's movement emerge in London. By 1903, there were two clear groups campaigning for women's suffrage, there was the NUWSS, formed in 1896, headed by Millicent Fawcett. The other was the WSPU formed in 1903, headed by Emmeline Pankhurst. These groups were to become known as the suffragists and the suffragettes respectively, and each would adopt different tactics. They both believed that if working women had to pay tax to a government, that they should surely have an opinion about who that government is. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, their place was considered to be at home, to carry out the domestic chores. Women were allowed to attain a degree at universities, however where women performed the same jobs as men, they were paid less. The idea was that men worked and were paid to support his family whereas a woman works to amuse herself. ...read more.

Middle

The WSPU did not break from the suffragist past. They supplemented their constitutional methods with violence, but did continue to use legal methods as well. Both the WSPU and the NUWSS attempt to overcome the stalemate reached between themselves and the Liberal Government by supporting the two Conciliation Bills; the WSPU called a truce during negotiations but returned to violence when the Bills failed. Many of the NUWSS members resigned in response to the same disappoint. Neither the NUWSS nor the WSPU ever affiliated themselves with a political party (even though some of them supported the Liberals) and they kept dividing over whether they should do so. If they had, it might have brought more publicity and also help portray them as a responsible set of women, and putting a stop the thought of women not knowing anything about politics. There was also a lack of support behind the suffragettes and suffragists, and this was also a reason as to why women did not get the vote before 1914. There were only about 50,000 behind the suffragettes, and although there were more behind the peaceful suffragists, this was only a small proportion of women in the country. Working Class women did not join, as nobody would have paid any attention to them, and it was left to the sophisticated middle and upper class women, who were respected and esteemed. ...read more.

Conclusion

If working-class men were helping the war effort and therefore got the vote in return, women are doing the same thing, and should also get the vote, for their support of the war efforts. At a Speaker's Conference it was decided that women deserved to get the vote, in view of the fact that they had helped significantly with the war effort. Yet, they did not agree with the idea that all women would get the vote, as they thought that the women would be the majority of the Electorate. So they agreed to give all women homeowners over 30 the vote, thinking that they would be the most responsible. Millicent Fawcett's decision over whether to accept this was also imperative because she believed in equal franchise, but decided to agree nonetheless, thinking that it would be better to get a foothold first, then progress from there. Equal franchise was passed 10 years later, in 1928. The First World War was fundamental in bringing about this act. The new Representation of the People Act was a reflection of the gratitude of the women's work for the war effort, including all jobs which the men could not do and women carried out on their behalf. Without the war, they may never have had the chance to show off their responsibility and usefulness and so change feelings towards them and got women the vote. ?? ?? ?? ?? Parag Raval 11AC History Coursework ...read more.

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