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Votes for women c1900-28

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

VOTES FOR WOMEN c1900-28 Source A is a Suffragette poster that was produced in 1912, to show what a woman could be and not have the vote and what men may have been, and not lost the vote. From Source A, I can learn that there are many reasons women were campaigning for the right to vote. A woman could be a doctor or a teacher, a valuable aid to the community, and not have the right to vote, whereas a man could be a violent drunkard, no use to the public, but would able to vote in general elections, choosing who would make the laws of the country. The poster plainly states that women deserve the right to vote, because they are as skilled, as knowledgeable, and as educated as men. From the poster I can learn that there were many reasons that women wanted the right to vote. * Women wanted better working conditions * They could not have their rights properly safe-guarded in the legislature of the country unless they had the right to vote. * As long as women didn't have the right to vote, they will be 'bottom dog' as wage-earners * Whilst men who are voters can have their opinions listened to, women as non-voters are ignored. * Women have to obey the laws equally with me, and they ought to have a voice in deciding what those laws should be. * The legislature in the past has not made laws that are equal between men and women: and these laws will not be altered until women get the vote. * Certain issues concerning home life cannot be satisfactorily settled if the woman's point of view is ignored. * If women aren't given the right to vote, then children will continue to believe that women are inferior to men. The suffragettes were demanding the vote for women because they wanted equality between men and women. ...read more.

Middle

The political party in power in the run up to the First World War and during the most militant part of the Suffragette's campaign was the Liberal Party. When the Liberal's won a landslide victory in 1906, the WSPU were hopeful that this would lead to votes for women, because the Prime Minister at this time was Henry Campbell-Bannermann was in favour of votes for women. However in 1908, Herbert Asquith, who was strongly against women's suffrage, replaced him. This new government led by Herbert Asquith did not continue to pursue women's suffrage, as it had other priorities. These included trying to establish a pension scheme, helping the poor and building more public housing. The liberal government was a reforming government who wanted to establish a Welfare State. However, they weren't concerned about votes for women. This was because: * The policy, 'Votes for Women', was only supported by 10% of the population, and they were afraid that if the supported it, it would make them unpopular. * They were more concerned about immediate issues such as poverty. * The Liberal's needed the support of labour and the Northern Ireland Nationalists. Therefore, Trade Unions and Home Rule for Ireland were more important. * Northern Ireland didn't want Home Rule and threatened to revolt if it came in. * Finally, there was tension with European neighbours that would eventually lead to World War 1. It was clear that the government's priorities lay elsewhere, and they were not concerned about the campaign for women's suffrage. The Liberal Party was not interested in their cause, Members of Parliament and the public had deeply rooted views of opposition towards them and the militant suffragette movement had distanced their supporters. It was therefore no surprise that women had not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War. Sources F and G are useful as evidence for the contribution of women to the war effort in the years 1914-1918. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, in the last source, J, Herbert Asquith says, "They have contributed to every service during this war except fighting. I therefore believe that some measure of women's suffrage should be given." This was the only source that made reference to the Suffragettes gaining the vote and their work during the war. Moreover, this was the only source that was actually from the period it refers to, 1917. From studying the sources, I have come to the conclusion that women did earn the vote because of the work they did during the war. World War One gave women the opportunity to show a male-dominated society that they could do more than simply bring up children and tend a home. In World War One, women played a vital role in keeping the soldiers equipped with ammunition and in many senses they kept the country going through their help in manning the transport system. At the start in August 1914, the government had been left enraged by the activities of the Suffragettes and women had no political power whatsoever. By the end of the war, in November 1918, women had proved that they were just as important to the war effort as men had been and in 1918 women were given some form of political representation. The effort the Suffragettes put in during the war outweighed the bad reputation they had gained prior to the war. During the war, they volunteered to join the VAD's (Voluntary Aid Detachment) and FANY's (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry). With so many men away fighting, someone had to bring in the harvests and keep the farms going. The Women's Land Army played a vital part in gathering food especially after 1916 when the Battle of the Somme killed and wounded so many young British soldiers - men who would normally work on the land. Finally, Some of the most important work done by women was in the ammunition factories. With so many men away fighting, women did this vital work, and it was these contributions that they made that I think earned them the vote. ...read more.

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