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The changing Role and Status of Women in Britainsince 1900

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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. Before the Victorian era, women were deemed very much as second class citizens; any idea of women being anywhere near as equal to men would be having been thought ridiculous before this era. But the Victorian era was one of innovation and change, everything was questioned; religion, society and the idea of women being equal to men. But would British politics surely allow women the vote, many men thought that if women were allowed to vote, they might have been kicked out of office due to sheer weight of numbers. The idea of women suffrage began during the 1800s when many powerful land owners who were women thought why they should not have the vote when they are just as powerful and influential as many men. Entering this world at the same time was the lady philanthropist who wanted to go on a journey of self discovery; they found that going out to help people instead of remaining in their so called "domestic havens" was so much more fulfilling. They were involved with many different jobs like Sunday school, maternity help and also giving lectures to the not so educated members of the poor community. Many of them began to want to change things, and of course to do that they needed power, they needed the vote. ...read more.


This treatment led suffragettes to see the liberal government as hostile to their cause. Many women also felt an incredible injustice to the way the government treated their protests and movements. The government refused to accept petitions, meetings in public places were banned and the press was also censored. Not only this, the printer who printed "The Suffragette" was prosecuted and also many homes of leading suffragists were raided. This is a huge comparison compared to how the government treated the Ulster Unionists, they preached sedition in Ireland and also smuggled guns there, but the government turned a blind eye to their violence and continued to consult them over Ireland. This seems very unfair as the Unionists type of militancy was far worse than that of the Suffragists and even the Suffragettes, but of course the Unionists had somewhat more power than the women and so the government needed these people on their side. They did not see how allowing women's suffrage would benefit themselves. On November the 18th 1910, the government took a much harder line, when women protesters marched on the House of Commons the police were ordered to brutally force the women back. They forced them back by kicking and punching them, there were different views to why the police did this. The traditional view was that they were not experienced in dealing with this view as they were used to the rough east end and did not know what to do with middle- class women. ...read more.


Another publicity stunt which gained a lot of news was the destruction of major works of art, for example Slasher Mary, Mary Richardson who attacked the Venus by Velasquez in the National gallery. Many historians believe that if there had been a group which had beliefs which instead of being on either extremes, would have been something of a compromise in between. This would have been far more popular as they would have gained publicity and also the government would not have felt like they were giving in to militancy. Also during the suffragette movement these two groups very rarely helped or supported each other, neither groups believed that the other was helping their cause to get women's suffrage and so maybe if they had worked together they would have got their dream much more rapidly. In conclusion I feel that there were many different factors which contributed to the fact that women did not get suffrage between 1900 and 1914, the Liberal government was not prepared to risk their term in government and the lack of cooperation between the two groups proved that they were going nowhere. For this it was not until the beginning of the First War that people actually began to sit up and listen to the calls of women's suffrage. Attitudes towards women and their right to vote had changed by 1918. How important was the First World War in bringing about this change? Explain your answer ?? ?? ?? ?? Edward Latham 07/05/2007 1 ...read more.

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