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Why, despite the suffragette activity, had women not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War?

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Introduction

3. Study sources D and E and use your own knowledge. Why, despite the suffragette activity, had women not gained the vote by the outbreak of the First World War? In the years before 1900, 15 bills for women's suffrage had been put forward to parliament by a group of women known as the suffragists. Each time, the bill failed. The lack of success annoyed many suffragists and by 1903, Ms Emmeline Pankhurst created another organisation of women known as the suffragettes. A major reason why the women did not gain the right to vote was because the issue was regarded as minor compared to others taking place at that time; The labour party was encouraging the Liberals to make changes to the Trade Union Law and the Irish Nationalists wanted a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

A further reason why the suffragettes did not receive the vote was that they did not stick together. In September 1907, The WSPU split into two. It was still dominated by the Pankhursts but some members broke away to form the 'Women's Freedom League'. The two organisations often worked together but there were many disagreements about the amount of violence. Another reason why they did not gain the vote was because not all women wanted the franchise. Even the Queen did not agree with women's vote. She said, "With the vote, women would become heartless and disgusting human beings". With the Queen and many other women against women's suffrage it held back the vote. One of the biggest reasons was people's views on equality of the sexes. The public, MP's and even the other women felt that men were superior to women. ...read more.

Conclusion

Men were 47.3% of the population and women, the other 52.7%. Now that two campaigns were running for women's votes, these percentages became a cause for concern. Disagreements existed on how to extend the vote for women. If they were given the vote on the same terms as men, only the wealthier women would receive suffrage. Both the labour and the liberal parties believed that this would aid the conservative parties. They were not prepared to risk this. Another reason why the vote was not permitted before the war was because their violent tactics were regarded as attention and publicity seeking. Pankhurst explained that they were driven to these tactics because peaceful methods had failed. The suffragettes lost support due to their irrational behaviour. Some of these violent tactics were throwing stones at 10 Downing Street, the smashing of major department stores, Hunger Strike and the slashing of the Rokeby Venus painting. Such brutality alienated many people. ...read more.

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