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The Suffragettes and the Struggle for Womens Right to Vote (Q. 5)

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Introduction

5. Study sources H, I and J and use your own knowledge. 'It was the work that women did during the war that earned them the vote' Use the sources and your own knowledge, to explain whether you agree with this interpretation. I both agree and disagree with the interpretation. War work was one of the reasons that women did get the vote, but it was one reason out of many that helped women finally gain the vote 1918. Source H seems to disagree with the interpretation. It suggest that saying that it was the contributions of women to the war effort alone that got them the vote is a very simplified view, as far less change had resulted from the war than it had seemed. It suggests that where was a lot of propaganda that seemed to show women in work being received with a warm welcome, but in fact the case was not so and women were 'greatly resented'. ...read more.

Middle

It suggests that the war years were a time where both great social and political changes had taken place, and that the 'question of women's rights' should not be 'isolated' from these. It suggests that it was due to this and due to the fact that times were changing and ideas were greatly changing, that women did gain the vote. Indeed, attitudes did greatly change after the war, and the public were more accepting of the changes in women that it brought about, simpler hairstyles and clothing, and most importantly, more freedom. Women were now more in control of their own lives, with contraception being readily available for the first time, and many more professions in employment such as the legal profession began accepting women. Source J is part of a speech made in the House of Commons by Herbert Asquith in 1917, the year following the end of his term as PM. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact, 'The Suffragette' newspaper was still being edited by Christabel Pankhurst, meaning renewing Suffragette action following WWI would be easy. The government and public would naturally want to avoid this threat, however serious or not. In conclusion, there are many reasons as to why women were given the vote. Women's contribution was one of these reasons, fear of renewed Suffragette action another. When women were given the vote in 1918, it was passed in The Representation of the People Act of 1918. A key part of women getting the vote was that the government's attempt to produce a new electoral register now that many army men who were entitled to vote in 1914 were now not qualified to. All men over 21 and all men over 18 who had served in the war could now vote. This was the perfect time to give women the vote without seeming to be too much in favour of it or looking as if they were giving in to them. ...read more.

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