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Why did a campaign for Women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

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Introduction

Why did a campaign for Women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? By 'Fahad Ashraf' 10Q During the latter part of the ninetieth century, many women began actively campaigning for equality, in particular for the right to vote. In this essay I am going to compare and contrast the campaigns for women's rights before and after 1870, and discuss the factors that led to the development of a campaign for women's suffrage in the years after 1870. At the start of the Victorian era there was a very strong division between both, the role of men and women and between the role of women of different classes. In upper and middle class households men had the dominant role. They would work and support their families, whereas women were expected to stay at home. Many households would employ domestic servants, to carry out household chores and to look after any children. It was considered to be shameful to the upper classes if a female member of the family worked. Furthermore women were discouraged from participating in any activities or having hobbies, in fact a woman was expected to reflect the status of her household by remaining idle at all times. ...read more.

Middle

In 1873, women were given the right to attend University. This subsequently led to demands for the emancipation (setting free) of women and to campaigns for female suffrage. Women began to realise that the right to vote was essential for gaining equality with men. Women, in particular those from upper class backgrounds, were becoming increasingly frustrated at their lack of independence. They had fewer rights than those of working class men, and there was no distinction between the rights of upper and working class women. Florence Nightingale was considered as a role model to many upper class women. Florence Nightingale was from an upper class, who went against all the expectations of an upper class woman to become a nurse. Women demanded that the professions like nursing should be opened to them so that they could make a useful contribution to society. Subsequently the London School of Medicine for Women opened in 1874. Twenty-five years later, there were over three hundred female doctors in the country. The introduction of devices such as the telephone and the typewriter in the 1880's led to the development of numerous new occupations for women. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was during this time that the first organisations which actively campaigned for women's suffrage began, most notably the Female Political Association, founded by Anne Knight and the Women's Social and Political Union and the suffragette movement, which was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her two daughters. Previously, individuals had done the majority of campaigning for women's rights. One of the first campaigners was Mary Smith, an unmarried property owner. From 1832 she began quietly petitioning Parliament to give female property owners the vote. Caroline Norton was another important figure who campaigned to bring about the Infants Custody Bill which, enabled children under seven to stay with their mother, after separation or divorce of the parents. Barbara Bodichon wrote pamphlets and collected signatures supporting a Married Woman's Property Bill that came into power in 1856. The efforts of individual campaigners were not as effective as those of the organisations founded in the latter part of the nineteenth century, in gaining equality for women. Before 1870 the campaigns for woman's equality had only a small impact. The majority of campaigning was done by individual women. However after 1870, many organisations, which actively campaigned for the equality of women, were founded. The work of these organisations played a significant role in enforcing women's rights. ...read more.

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