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Why did women fail to gain the vote between 1900-1914?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did women fail to gain the vote between 1900-1914? There are many reasons why women failed to gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914, these different reasons did not just appear overnight some were had been institutionalised into the very core of British society over a great length of time. The other reasons were public responses to, the then, recent actions of the groups looking to gain the vote for women. For the purpose of this coursework I will separate these reasons into three major factors that explain why women failed to gain the vote between 1900 and 1914. 1. Long-term factors: First I am going to study the long-term causes, as it is with these that the climate of the situation at the time in question can be viewed in its entirety. At the start of the 20th century Britain was a patriarchal society, one dominated by males with women considered as lower class citizens. Most women were seen as their husbands' property and were there to meet all their requirements, these requirements included doing all domestic work, bringing up any children they may have and being there to please them sexually. Another long-term reason that caused those who wished to have the vote for women an uphill struggle was the general consensus, in the government, that women did not deserve the vote or in fact want the vote. This particular view would prove to be a very stubborn obstacle for those who would want the vote for women, as it was sexism at its most institutionalised. Also there was no major request for change within the country before 1900, the country was in a good period of stability, the empire was at its strongest and Britain was one of the, if not thee, most influential countries in the worlds markets. The people who were demanding the vote for women were named the suffragettes; this name came from the word suffrage, which means having the right to vote. ...read more.

Middle

These ideas all suggest that the public were beginning to turn away from the Liberal Party who "was too rooted in the nineteenth century to survive these challenges". This alone suggests the First World War did not kill the Liberal Party but in fact the period before it did. Indeed problems such as the suffragette movement, Irish Home Rule and Industrial unrest also rose at this time. The evidence to support Dangerfield's theory however is not strong. Despite these worries, the Liberals were 'certainly not on the high road to political oblivion'. The Liberals managed to tackle all problems with a good degree of success, such as reforming parliament to pass Home Rule, negotiate terms with the strikers, and cast public opinion against the violent suffragettes. It is regarded by many that Dangerfield also underestimated the profound positive effects of the reforms and therefore, this period cannot be considered the death of Liberal England because it had a great deal of positive outcomes despite the bad ones. This means that something took place after this period was instead, and this something was the First World War. Thus, Dangerfield's arguments being evaluated as weak, there is more evidence that the First World War killed the Liberal Party because nothing before it was seen to dramatically weaken the Liberals. The other issue that arose other than the First World War, was the rise of the Labour Party. The Labour Party took over from the Liberals as second party in Britain after the war, and therefore, it has to be considered that perhaps the Liberals did not decline, but the Labour party became more successful. However, the Labour Party only really became successful after the First World War and their popularity before it was very limited. The Liberal reforming programme stile much of Labours momentum and people had no need to vote Labour as Liberals had carried out most of their policies to appease the working class. ...read more.

Conclusion

The bill didn't work. In 1931 there was no longer a domestic service but a new sector in the personal service. If there hadn't been a war the change would not have been so rapid. The years after the war there were several changes lining up for the women: * 1918-The representation of people act was brought in which offered the chance for females to become MP's in the parliament to represent the women. * 1919-This was the year of the first female MP to sit in on a parliament session. Lady Nancy Astor. The first was Countess Markowicz, but she did not sit in on the parliament. Also this was the year that the sex disqualification act was brought in so the women could not be sacked from their jobs for being pregnant for example. * 1923-Equal rights in the divorce proceedings. This gave the women more of a chance if they ever were to get divorced, where before the war everything went to the husband. * 1925-Another opportunity opened for the women, the civil service started to accept women. * 1928-In 1918 some middle-class women were given the vote but now there were full voting rights for everyone over 21. This is what they had campaigned for, for so long. * 1930-It was the first time that contraception advice was given to women. This shows that things were changing in the favour of women in Britain. Overall I think that the war had a major affect on the role and status of women. It may not have been instant but it set the grounding for everything to come. It showed to all the men in the country that they were just as good as them and should be given the same opportunities and respect from them. ? Lloyd-George and a group of Liberal MPs believed they had no choice but to concentrate all efforts on winning the war, even if it meant acting 'illiberally'. They soon lost confidence in Asquith's leadership because of his inefficiency. Yasser Awad 1 ...read more.

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