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Without the 1st World War, British women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918. Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation?

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Introduction

Without the 1st World War, British women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918. Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Women had been demanding the vote for many years with little success. The achieved the right to vote in 1918 immediately after WWI. Several factors have been suggested as to why this occurred. In the years before 1914 when the war began, the Suffragettes had been campaigning for the vote. They used peaceful methods, such as public speeches and distributing pamphlets, post cards etc. Source A is a speech made by Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst in March 1908. In this speech, she stated very clearly that just because women would get the vote doesn't mean that their way of life would have to change. They would have a say in the way the country was being run, but need not "give up a single duty she has in the home". You can tell Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst felt strongly about women getting the vote as she exaggerates her facts. ...read more.

Middle

Many men, including Lord Curzon, were afraid that "if omen did gain the right to vote, it would mean that most voters would then be women. This was not a good thought because it would mean that women would be running Britain, which was out of the question at that time. Lord Curzon also talked about women's roles during the war, and how men and women could never be equal because women did not fight on the front line. Another factor was that women had been coming more equal over the years. This was because of the First World War. Because all healthy men went to war, women had to take up doing their jobs. Women were allowed to work for a living but only for the war effort. They worked as road sweepers, post-women, shopkeepers etc. Braver women worked in munitions factories and women who worked with TNT found that their skin turned yellow. They were nicknamed the "canary girls". It was later found out that this was a form of toxic jaundice, and was very bad for the health. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some men went as far as causing accidents in factories, and blamed women. They told the government that women were too clumsy and careless to work under such dangerous conditions and their jobs should be given back to men. Near the end of the war, the government realised that they could not forbid women to work, because women chose to work voluntarily. The main problem that caused these thoughts was the fact that the government knew that the war heroes would want to come home to their normal lives and jobs. So the government decided to give women the right to vote as a "token of appreciation" for working so hard during the war. This, in turn, allowed men to come home and carry on as normal as things can be after a war. In conclusion, I think that the methods of the Suffragettes did not help gain the right to vote because the campaigns did not show people what women were capable of. I think that without the war, women would have never been able to prove their independence and would never have gained the vote. Manaan Iftikhar 11F - 1 - ...read more.

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