• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


History Coursework Votes for Women Q1. Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? The late 19th Century, as a period where social unrest was prevalent, became the major starting point of social, political and economic reform in Britain. Social groups were beginning to demand that their voices be heard by government in order to improve standard of living, working conditions and education opportunities. This period of reform was echoed by the height of the campaign for female emancipation. As the first trade unions and strikes were being organised by miners, labourers and other male workers, female workers and women in general were beginning to demand improvements in their legal, social and financial positions. New acts and reform bills were steadily introduced from around the mid 19th Century, improving women's rights. E.g. The 1839 Custody of Infants Act gave more rights to divorced women to see their children (although the father still had almost complete control of the children), and the factory Acts of 1842 and 1847 reduced maximum working hours for women in textile factories. At this time, many of Britain's poorest and most exploited people were women. By 1900 there were over 5 million wage-earning women in Britain, most of them grossly underpaid, working in awful conditions. These issues of poverty and inequality formed the background of the demand for votes for women. ...read more.


Although originating from a similar viewpoint, the WSPU and NUWSS were vastly different organisations. Whereas the Suffragists (NUWSS) were largely non-political, the Suffragettes were closely linked with the Labour party, whose party meetings were often attended by the Pankhursts as speakers. In addition, the Suffragists had a vast grass-root support system among working class women, whereas the Suffragettes had very few working class members (Annie Kenney being a high profile example). The early examples of the Suffragette's disruptive campaign included members attending political party meetings and heckling politicians/speakers with questions on how they intended to work for female suffrage, resulting in their removal and often, arrest. Rather than pay fines, many members opted to be jailed in order to further publicise the campaign. This publicity attracted new recruits and encouraged the WSPU's militant approach. The WSPU declared 'war' on the Liberal government for failing o do anything for votes for women. Leading liberal politicians were heckled during speeches, their houses picketed and demonstrations were held and disturbances caused outside the Houses of Parliament. More arrests and refusals to pay resulted in longer prison stays where women were forced to wear prison uniforms, denied visits or letters. This was another victory for the WSPU propaganda machine. They were able to show that their members were being treated more harshly than some hardened criminals, forcing the government to back down. ...read more.


dangerous jobs which really triggered the major changes which made the government's decision to give women the vote generally more acceptable to the public and therefore more likely to be introduced. While the men were fighting on the front line during WW1, the women were taking on the traditionally 'men-only' jobs on the home front. Women were becoming postal workers, bus conductors and mechanics out of necessity in order to aid the war effort and it was in these professions where many women proved themselves to be capable of much more than was traditionally expected of them, and earned the grudging respect and support of politicians who have previously been opposed to the female suffrage campaign. The fact that women had really earned acknowledgement for their efforts during the war was a great influence on the decision of politicians and the government to give some women the vote. Another influence might have been that the government were unwilling to come up against Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes and their temporarily called-off violent campaign now that the war was over. In conclusion, I agree with the original statement because I feel that the government would have been reluctant to introduce the radical and traditionally opposed idea of votes for women without the major social change and subsequent change in public opinion which was due to the changing face of industry and economical & social power which now included rather than disregarded women. Natalya Frederick 11JT ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. How important were Haig's tactics in bringing an end to WW1?

    However, the British troops learned a lot and the bombardment did wear the Germans and their resources down. In addition, there were German casualties after the bombardment. In 1917, the 'battle of Cambrai' began.

  2. Describe the conditions that soldiers experienced on the western front in the years 1915-1917.

    Tanks in their early stages were not beneficial as they would more often suffer mechanical failure rather than to be a victim of German machine gun fire. British security surrounding the major operation was poor and German intelligence had intercepted evidence that appeared to suggest that a major offensive on the part of Britain was likely to take place.

  1. Windsor Coursework

    But may not be as reliable as primary since you haven't gathered the information yourself. Graphs of survey Places that tourist chose to visit This is a graph where tourist told us the places they have visited and places they have not.

  2. Haig Coursework

    This is a fair point to make, but if you consider the state of affairs, if he had not used the tanks he would have been condemned for having not used every means at his disposal. Therefore, whichever judgment he made, would have come under scrutiny.

  1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    Source 17 is taken from Churchill's memoirs, the very conversation he had with his Ministers 'There was a white glow, overpowering sublime, which ran through our Island'. This is a typical example of the way Churchill described Dunkirk at the time; these very words were used in a speech to millions as government propaganda.

  2. The Changing roles of women

    They were taking full advantage of educational opportunities at all levels and entered a range of occupations, including the professions such as law and medicine. Though women had equal educational prospects as men, many of the best jobs were still closed to them, which led to extreme frustration.

  1. Describe law and order in London in the last 19th century

    In 1862 photographs of criminals were taken at prisons. They were then sent to Scotland Yard where they were placed in a room. This room was called the "Rogues Gallery". The photographs were taken because it was believed that detectives could work out the criminal type criminals were involved in by the shape of their head.

  2. How much did the CID improve investigative policing in the years 1880-1950?

    ?I have to suggest that our CID should be in more constant communication with yours about the W[hitechapel] murders?. (4) This quote suggests that during the killings, there was little contact between the CID and the Police. As a result of this, the CID hardly improved investigative policing as if there is no communication then nothing would be solved.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work