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The Changing Role and Status of Women

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Sarah Boydell 11H GCSE Coursework Assignment 2 The Changing Role and Status of Women Attitudes towards women and their fight to gain the right to vote had changed by 1918. How important was the First World War in bringing about this change? Explain your answer. Various groups of women had been fighting for the right to vote. The two main groups were the Suffragists and the Suffragettes. The Suffragists were a peaceful, moderate group led by Millicent Fawcett. The Suffragettes were a violent and extreme group led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Despite both sets of tactics, neither had been successful in gaining the vote for women. By 1918, women protesters finally achieved its aim. The Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 gave the vote to around 9 million women over the age of 30. During the First World War, women took on the roles of men in the country. Before the war, the majority of women worked as domestic servants in rich households. ...read more.


With all this support for women and the men who were in anti-suffrage groups away from home, it was only fair that women should get some form of reward for their work. At the end of the war in 1918, women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. Firstly, the Government didn't want more women voting than men. If women over 21 had been given the vote, the majority of voters would be women. Secondly, the Government believed that younger women did not understand important issues such as politics. Women over 21 eventually gained the vote ten years later. However, war was not the only factor in women gaining the vote. Women held the country together during the war. Women had proved themselves to be equal to men as they had taken over mens duties whilst they were fighting the war. The new wartime PM David Lloyd George was in favour of women having the vote and said "Women cannot fight but they fill our munitions factories. ...read more.


Although there was so much opposition to women from The House of Lords, when it came to the vote, the right for women to vote was won. The Representation of the People Act was passed in February 1918 and women over 30 voted in their first elections in December 1918. I will now conclude my essay with my own opinion. I think that if it hadn't been for the war then it would have been a longer struggle for women to gain the vote. The War gave women the opportunity to prove to the Government that they were worthy of the vote and also showed what they were capable of doing. Women also impressed the Government with their patriotism and their halting of campaigning. They also deserved some form of reward for keeping the country going whilst men were abroad fighting and it was only fair to give them something they wanted as they had worked so hard. I personally believe that the First World War was the main factor in helping women to get the vote. ...read more.

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