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The changing roles and status of women

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Introduction

History Coursework - The changing roles and status of women Q1 Choose one reason and explain how it contributed to women being given the vote in 1918. In 1903 the suffragette movement was born with the formation of the Women's Social and Political Union (WPSU) by Emmeline Pankhurst and her two daughters Christabel and Sylvia. At first the newly formed suffragettes relied on spreading propaganda to gain support. However, on the 18th October 1905 they gained considerable unplanned publicity when Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney stood up at a public meeting and asked if a Liberal government would introduce women's suffrage. Receiving no reply they stood on their seats waving a banner which said, "votes for women". They were thrown out of the meeting and arrested for causing an obstruction outside. Instead of paying the fine they went to prison as protest, causing a great stir and getting the story of the suffragettes into the newspapers. The suffragettes gained maximum publicity for their cause by interrupting and heckling politicians, putting up posters, and chaining themselves to railings (such as those outside Buckingham Palace). ...read more.

Middle

In return all suffragette prisoners were pardoned and the WPSU devoted it's formidable energies to fighting the war. It was absolutely essential that women should take over many of the jobs, which had been done the men recruited into the armed forces. There were female sailors, ambulance drivers and female police officers. However, women are probably most renowned for their work in munitions factories making bombs and cartridge cases. Women continued to work after the war, in the jobs the war had created for them. This showed everyone what women were capable of. At the end of the twentieth century it was an eye opener to those brought up in the Edwardian tradition that a woman's place was at home. It's success gained publicity for women's rights, and the newspapers and magazines of the time were filled with praise. In 1917, the Prime Minister Lloyd George announced that women's war work had changed people's opinion on women's suffrage. The suffragettes contributed to women being given the vote by gaining publicity for their cause. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, they had no real success. In all, the issue of votes foe women was raised in Parliament fifteen times before 1900, and it was rejected every time. In some ways the suffragettes were very successful in their campaign for women to gain the vote. They gained massive amounts of publicity for their cause by interrupting meetings and heckling politicians, chaining themselves to railings, breaking shop windows, cutting telephone lines and setting buildings on fire. However, their violent protests caused them to lose support from many of their original supporters and also lost them any sympathy that the government had for them. In my opinion the First World War was the most important factor in women being given the vote. It gave women the opportunity to show every one that they were just as capable as men were. Their work during the war gained them much support for their cause, including that of many politicians. "The vote was won, not by burning churches, mutilating pictures, or damaging pillar boxes, but by women's work on the war. It was not a concession to violence, but an acknowledgement of patriotic service." Charles L Graves, 1922. Paul Clift 1 1 ...read more.

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