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Votes for Women

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Introduction

Votes for Women Study Source A. What can you learn from Source A about the reasons given by the Suffragettes for demanding votes for women? 1. Source A teaches us that suffragettes thought that women deserved the vote, as much, and in certain cases more than men. One way it argues this by showing: "What a woman may be" and not be able to vote. This includes important jobs in society such as doctors, teachers and nurses. By giving educated women like these the vote, the Suffragettes suggest that women could bring a valuable contribution to law making. Source A even gives the example of a female mayor; a woman with a highly political job, still denied the vote because of her sex. Similarly, the poster claims a woman 'factory hand' cannot vote which is unfair as they are hard-working labourers making a vital contribution to the economy. By showing all the positions a woman can have in society and yet not have the vote, the Suffragettes highlight injustice in the voting system. The Source furthers its argument by contrasting what a woman "may be" without suffrage against what a man "may have been" and still have suffrage. It states that former male "convicts", "lunatics" and "proprietors of white slaves", among others can vote even though they clearly do not deserve the responsibility. It also mentions that a man who is "not fit for service" is able to vote. This is a counter argument to those opposed to women suffrage on that grounds that: women do not fight for their country and make the 'final sacrifice'. ...read more.

Middle

She goes on to say, 'we [suffragettes] have often been asked that question', which tells us that many considered their violent actions negative to their cause. A prime example of this was Emily Davison's public suicide by being hit by a racing-horse. Her martyrdom was considered vile and disgusting by many. People thought these violent acts were a contradiction of the Suffragette's purpose. It appeared to some people that the Suffragettes were campaigning for voting rights at the same time as braking laws and being irresponsible members of society. Another factor that meant women had to wait longer until they earned suffrage was the attitude of the government. In Source D, Pankhurst writes that the government were failing as they believed public opinion was in their favour and the government ignored it: 'in 1906 there was a very large section of the public opinion who were in favour of women's suffrage'. She goes on to ask 'what did that do the cause?' claiming that the government were bias against them. Furthermore, Source E is a prime example of how the elected parties had negative attitudes towards women's suffrage. Here, an MP gives a speech claiming that 'giving women the right to vote...will ultimately put the control of the government into female hands'. We learn from this that there was an opinion that as women were a majority of the population it would be a very dramatic change and MP's were scared of this. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the Source was produced in 1916 and we cannot tell what the governments attitude might have been during the rest of the war period. Source G is a useful source as evidence of the female contribution to the war effort. It shows the dramatic increases in the number of women working from the beginning to end of the war years. It tells us that industries such as 'Metal and Chemicals' were employing many women during the war period with increases of well over 100%. Working in these sorts of industries women would have been helping the war effort by creating munitions and weaponry used by the soldiers. Furthermore, we infer by the increases in women working in 'government offices' and 'food drink and tobacco' that women were taking the places of men gone to fight. Therefore, one can read from the quantitative data displayed from source G that both economically and through making munitions women were contributing to the war effort. However, the source shows some weakness in that the source displays data only from the year the war began and the year the war ended; we do not know how the numbers increased within that time span. In conclusion, I believe that both of these Sources tell us something about the contribution of women to the war effort. However, Source G is evidence that is much more substantial. Therefore, I would say that source F is of limited usefulness whereas Source G is strong evidence. ?? ?? ?? ?? Julian Conway Page 1 Votes for Women Mr Jeffries JFS ...read more.

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