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Votes for Women, c.1900-28

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G.C.S.E. HISTORY Coursework No.1 Assignment Objective 1 Topic: Votes for Women, c.1900-28 Sources: * Britain 1906-18, by Richard Radway * Britain and the Great War, by Greg Heatherton * The British Women's Suffrage Campaign, 1866-1928, by Harold L. Smith * Votes for Women, 1860-1928, by Paula Bartley * The Changing Role of Women, 1815-1914, by Paula Bartley * www.bbc.co.uk * www.socialist100.freeserve.co.uk * www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk * www.tln.schulnetz.org * www.northallertoncoll.org.uk * www.learningcurve.gov.uk Name: Irma Faruqi Number of Words: 1, 851 words Date of Submission: 22nd November 2004 Q. Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? After aeons of being treated as "second-class" citizens, the women of Britain, around the 1860s, decided to campaign for suffrage and gain equal rights and their reasons for campaigning are explained below. Married women were always superseded by their husbands, could not own property and had few other rights. Divorce laws, too, were partial, favouring men more than women and practices like wife-battering and marital rape were still legal. After continuous campaigning, acts like the Married Women's Property Acts of 1870 and 1882, changes in divorce laws during the 1870s and 1880s and the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1884 were passed which slightly improved the situation Until 1860, the British women had received very basic education, if any. ...read more.


The Suffragists also had marches and public meetings where they spoke for their rights and urged people to help them achieve their goals. Furthermore, they distributed pamphlets and the leader, Millicent Fawcett wrote books like Women's Suffrage(1911) and What I Remember(1924), to publicise her thoughts, opinions and endeavours for women's suffrage. The Suffragists also trained a number of women in public speaking, thus encouraging them to give impressive, influential speeches, and hopefully, gain more supporters. In elections, they supported candidates in favour of female suffrage and, in the 1906 elections; they presented male candidates to oppose the Liberals, who were against female suffrage. In contrast, the Suffragettes let frustration lead them to violence and adopted "Deeds, not words!" as their motto and believed that unless they resorted to violence, their message would never be accepted. Around 1911, when many Suffragettes had been sent to prison, Mary Leigh, a young Suffragette, went on a hunger strike while imprisoned, refusing to consume any food. The government, unwilling to let them do so and therefore die as martyrs in the world's eyes, took measures to force feed these women, but, in doing so, actually almost gained for them more supporters, as this showed the government's heartlessness and cruelty towards the women. ...read more.


Furthermore, the politicians became conscious of the fact that if they supported women, they were more likely to vote for them, whereas if they did not support them, the women would begin protesting again and due to the advances in media, the world would see the turmoil inside Britain, leading to its loss of status as the "Mother of Democracy". An additional factor going for the women was, that due to their earlier campaigns and protests, they had a strong foundation, and had stated their demands quite clearly. Had they not campaigned earlier and then participated in the war, like the French women, the country would not have been aware of their stand, and the women's efforts would have been overlooked and by the end of the war, it would have been too late. Changes in Parliament also contributed to the women's movement. Many Suffragist MPs were promoted to the Cabinet and Lloyd George replaced Asquith as Prime Minister, who supported the women, not wholeheartedly, but more than Asquith. Looking at these facts, it is obvious that women over 30 acquired the vote mainly due to the war efforts of the younger ones, who still did not receive much recognition. Also, there were other reasons for female suffrage such as the strong foundation built due to pre-war campaigns and changes in Parliament. Therefore, I partially agree with the statement. 1 ...read more.

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