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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? Since 1839, women were gradually improving their position in society. However, the situation was far from equality. Women earned less than men for the same jobs and the working conditions were not of the same standard that most men had. As well as equal pay and improved working conditions, women wanted equal employment opportunities. Women could not work as doctors or lawyers and were deprived of proper technical training. By 1870, women increasingly believed getting the vote would help to achieve equality. They saw the vote as a means to an end. ...read more.

Middle

In 1884, a woman was no longer seen as a chattel (possession) of her husband. However, women were still unequal and they were still denied equal pay or opportunities in employment. Around 1870, the tabloid press became available throughout the UK and this was a great benefit for the Women's Suffrage campaign. The tabloid newspapers simply wanted to sell newspapers, as they do today, so they covered the campaign because it is interesting reading. This gave the campaign publicity, making it possible to attract followers through the media. Without publicity, the campaign would probably have failed because there would be no reason for politicians to take it seriously, whereas making the demands public forced answers to be given. ...read more.

Conclusion

Westminster MP, John Stuart Mill, made the first plea for women's suffrage in parliament. The Third Reform Act in 1884 gave the vote to nearly all men, including some working class but there were still no votes for women. Women could clearly see that with the expansion of votes to most men, their position in society had improved and this further encouraged them to demand the vote because they knew there position would also improve. After 1870 a campaign developed throughout the UK, followed by both men and women. By 1897, all little clubs joined together to create the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. The society was well organised, led by Millicent Fawcett. He society's aim is to get rid of all inequality and the vote is seen as an important step towards achieving this. ...read more.

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