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The Changing Role And Status of Women - The Setting Up of the Women's Social And Political Union (WSPU) In 1903

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Chris Willerton Modern History Coursework No.1: - The Changing Role And Status of Women The Setting Up of the Women's Social And Political Union (WSPU) In 1903 Mary Woollstencroft caused a stir in 1792, when her book 'Vindication of the Rights of Women' was published, which claimed women were equal to men. She was a pioneer of the Women's Movement. During the 19th century, developing concepts of socialism grew alongside the analysis and criticism of the position of women in the family and by 1900, there was the cultivation and acceptance of a curious paradox about the nature of women. Science and society still nurtured the beliefs that women were less intelligent and weaker both physically and emotionally than men. Women were also revered and elevated for their sensitivity and feminine virtue. Women also had to be protected and cosseted from the brutal realities of the world. Such beliefs, held by many women as well as men, meant many of the iniquities and inequalities such as the denial of voting rights, ...read more.


Fawcett argued that women could hold responsible posts in society, such as sitting on school boards - but apparently they couldn't be trusted to vote. Surely, she argued, if parliament made laws and if women had to obey the laws, then women should be part of the process of making those laws. She also argued that as women had to pay the same taxes as men, they should have the same rights as men. Fawcett's progress was slow and she only managed to convert a few members of the Labour Representation Committee (soon to be the Labour party), but most men in Parliament believed that women would simply not understand how parliament worked and therefore shouldn't take part in the electoral process. Methods Used To Get The Vote A number of ways were tried to get the vote for women. These options included women refusing to pay their taxes, protests, marches and riots/domestic violence. ...read more.


There were miners' strikes going on in 1912 as well, and at the time this was very important as Britain depended on using a lot of coal. These problems were considered a lot more important than women's votes and it was considered rude to try to overshadow these. Both men and women lost respect and any sympathy that they had for votes for women because some women were constantly trying to gain attention for their cause by going to extremes, as illustrated earlier. Conclusion From studying the issue of 'Votes for Women' and looking particularly at the Suffragettes, I have found a number of things: Neither Emmeline Pankhurst, nor Millicent Fawcett succeeded in getting the vote for women, though both contributed considerably to it. Women eventually got the vote just after World War 1 (1914-1918) had finished. This was largely because of their hard work, and by proving that they could do men's jobs, in a mature manner. But only women over the age of thirty were allowed to vote, as at that age, women were considered to have passed their 'militant stage'. ...read more.

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