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Why did women get the vote in 1918.

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Introduction

Why did women get the vote in 1918 In 1918 Women gained the right to vote for the first time after years of campaigning and four years of war. Yet why did parliament pass the bill by such a majority when they had blocked so many other similar bills? At the start of the war the government had a problem. They needed thousands of soldiers to back up the standard army, which was not large enough for a large-scale war and much of the army was posted across the empire. They needed to recruit from civilians but large amounts of civilians were working in vital industries such as shipbuilding and agriculture. The government also needed to produce a munitions industry. Clearly the recruitment drive would damage the home front. The government solved the problem by recruiting women into all these industries this was highly successful because of the support given by the suffragist and suffragettes and as many as 500000 women joined up. ...read more.

Middle

Prior to the war many MPs did not view female suffrage as an important issue but they were at least aware of the issue because of the suffragist and suffragette campaigning. Suffragist campaigning proved to many MPs that women wanted the vote and suffragette campaigning proved that they were prepared to fight for it. By giving women the vote the liberal government were guaranteeing themselves a significant proportion of those women's votes for the general election that was coming up. This was important to the liberals because after the war the labour party had been gaining a large amount of support and the government was beginning to receive criticism for its handling of the huge casualties of World War I and the depression which followed it. The government did not in fact pass a direct bill granting women the vote but instead tacked it onto a different bill passed before the end of the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also without this aid the government would have no real reason to give women the vote when restoring the country was the main priority. Also important was the fact that servicemen couldn't vote, this was important because it provided a bill for female suffrage to be tacked on to. For most MPs this bill was essential and so the liberal government could easily pass female suffrage because parliament could not easily reject the bill. Similarly, the actual campaigning by suffragists was important because it actually made the government know that women wanted the vote. The most important cause was still the women's aid to the war effort. Without it, considering Britain still actually won the war, there would be no argument for female suffrage to counteract the adverse affects of the suffragette campaign, and if Britain had not won the war without it, which they were less likely to do, then Britain would have far greater problems to cope with than female suffrage. ...read more.

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