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"Without the First World War British women would not have gained the vote in 1918" Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

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Introduction

"Without the First World War British women would not have gained the vote in 1918" Do you agree or disagree with this statement? In 1918, women were finally given the right to vote. This was die to the new 'Representation of the People Act' passed at this time. However, it did not apply to all women, only those over 30 were given the right to vote. This was different to the legal age of 21 men were allowed to vote. In the same year, the bill to allow women over 21 to stand for parliament became law but it was only passed just before the election. This meant female candidates had little preparation time and was probably the reason why there were so few women standing for parliament. One of the reasons for women getting the vote was the war work they did. Before, women mainly worked within domestic service or textiles and dress. When they got married, they were expected to give up their job in order to look after their family. When the war started in 1914, many men went to fight in the trenches, leaving thousands of businesses with nobody to run them and jobs with nobody to do them, except for women. Eventually women started to fill these places, taking over their husband's businesses and going to work in the factories. ...read more.

Middle

Their decision to stop their violent campaigns for the vote and concentrate on encouraging women to help the war effort showed the country that the Suffragettes were patriotic and proved that these women who had sometimes been branded 'unbalanced' and 'insane' by the newspapers were sensible and could make rational decisions. After the war, support for the Suffragettes would probably have been stronger than ever and, had the government not given the vote to women, the pressure on them to do so would have probably been very high. It can also be argued that the war stopped the vote being given to women sooner. Before the war, women suffrage was one of the most highly talked about issues. When the war started, it took its place as the major issue for politicians and the war dominated the headlines. The Suffragettes stopped their violent campaigns and all of this meant the pressure on the government to give women the right to vote was greatly reduced. In some ways I agree with the statement that women would not have gained the right to vote without the First World War. I agree that the war and the work women did during the war played an important part in achieving the right to vote for women. It proved that women were just as valuable and able as men and this meant politicians were running out of reasons not to give women the vote. ...read more.

Conclusion

Similarly, giving the vote to women under 30 would have probably meant more votes for the Labour Party. It wasn't just MPs who were worried about the effects of giving women the vote. Some men, especially those in trade unions, were worried that women would now take their jobs, because they would work for lower wages. There were also disagreements over which women should get the vote. Women, like Silvia Pankhurst, who campaigned against the war and didn't help with the war effort, were not considered, by some, deserving enough to get the vote. All women did not see women over 30 gaining the vote in 1918 as a victory. It was mostly women under the age of 30 who had done all the dangerous jobs during the war and yet it was not these women who got the vote in 1918. The Suffragettes continued to campaign to get the vote for all women until they were successful in 1928. I agree that without the war, women would have not gained the right to vote in 1918. However, I believe eventually women would have got the vote because of pressure from the Suffragettes. I also believe that without the work the Suffragettes did before and during the war, women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918, it would have been much later. I think the Suffragettes made people aware of the cause and the war and the work women did during the war raised even more support for the cause. Emma Davis 11NG 1 ...read more.

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