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Why Did a Campaign for Women(TM)s Suffrage Develop in the Years after 1870?

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Introduction

In the beginning of 1800, Britain was a largely male-dominated country, where only a few men could vote. Laws changed, and by 1884, 5 million men could vote. However, the new law used the term 'male person', making any woman legally unable to vote. Women who wanted the vote stood for a campaign called 'Women's Suffrage'. In the 1800s, laws began to change for women. From 1969, women gained the right to become involved in and vote for local councils, School Boards and Poor Law Boards, which looked after the welfare of the less fortunate and employed. This was an increase of control for women in society, letting women participate in decisions about education, poverty and local matters. ...read more.

Middle

This is a clear example of how women were seen as inferior to men, many women believed that if they had the vote this would make them stand equally with men. Women working in factories had to endure terrible, unsafe conditions. Some female workers campaigned for better conditions and received them, like the 'Match Girls', from a London match factory who received better pay and conditions after a protest in 1888. A big criticism from anti-Suffragists is that women weren't intelligent enough to understand politics. In 1870 education at school was made compulsory for both boys and girls under ten - they received the same level of education. This put them at the same starting point in life, making the same careers possible for both sexes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Laws also changed in favour of married women; in 1870 women could keep �200 of her earnings and in 1882 women owned all her property too. In 1882 it was illegal for a man to force his wife to stay at home if she did not consent. All of these laws slackened married men's grip on their wives, which liberated them and made them less reliant on their husbands. The changes in law lead to changes of the perception of women in society. As women began to get better jobs and education, it lead to more respect and more reason they should no longer be seen as inferior to men. Changes in the law gave women independence from men. But there were still big issues women wanted changing. The changes made the vote seem more achievable, so support grew. ...read more.

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