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Why did a Campaign for Women's Suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

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Introduction

1. Why did a Campaign for Women's Suffrage develop in the years after 1870? A campaign for women's suffrage developed in the UK in the years after 1870 because women were being discriminated against and they wanted equal rights. Working women couldn't help themselves because between working and looking after the family they had no time or energy, whereas middle class women had a lot of time to do as they pleased and some had their husbands support. The main way in which women were discriminated against was politically - they had an extremely unequal political status to men. They couldn't vote in general elections and until 1869 they couldn't vote in council elections either. They weren't allowed to stand for parliament, and they couldn't stand for district or borough councils until 1917. They also had to pay the same taxes as men, but had no influence over the way their money was spent. Many British women felt that if women in other parts of the British Empire (such as New Zealand) had the vote, then why shouldn't they? Politicians saw women as more people to vote against them. They also thought that women were not mature enough for positive thinking. ...read more.

Middle

Emily Wilding Davison was killed under the hooves of the Kings horse at the Epson derby. Suffragettes often opted for the more violent methods of protests such as arson, vandalism and verbal abuse. They were frequently seen sailing down the river Thames shouting abuse at Parliament; they were known to repeatedly chain themselves to public buildings. Suffragettes were famously blamed for the destruction of all the windows on Oxford Street. They often went to prison rather than pay fines to accentuate the injustice of the system, when in prison they would go on hunger strikes meaning they had to be force fed causing more problems for government and prison wardens. After awhile Government got used to this and issued the Cat and Mouse act that said that if a woman went on hunger strike she was released after they had become incredibly weak. After a brief period of time in which they could recover they were arrested again for minor offences to start the whole cycle again. After a few times of going through this the woman would be too weak to protest and would be unable to cause much trouble for the Government. ...read more.

Conclusion

The government feared that the women would protest more so decided to consider giving women the vote. Also women around the world had started to be given the vote. Women in Finland and New Zealand had been given the vote and the British Government now felt that they had to be more easy-going towards women and the vote. In conclusion I disagree with the statement 'Women over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of the women's contribution to the war effort.' I think that women's contribution to the war effort definitely played a part in helping the campaign for votes for women and in helping men to realize that women were capable of making a genuine contribution to society. But I disagree that this was the main reason. Women's suffrage campaigns had been on going for years and I believe this to be the main reason. Also other factors such as 21-year-old men getting the vote and women in other countries being given the vote helped the British Parliament to consider giving women the vote. I think that the suffragette movement and the war acted as a catalyst and actually pushed parliament to eventually give women the vote that they had been procrastinating over doing for years. ...read more.

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