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Women Over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women's contribution to the war effort

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Introduction

Women Over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women's contribution to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain Your Answer. The campaign for women's suffrage had been going for almost 50 years before any women in Britain were given the right to vote. In 1918 women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote for the first time. This was after four years of a war in which women had played a much larger role than ever before. The war was obviously a factor in women getting the vote but how and to what extent? When the war began Emmeline Pankhurst told the Suffragettes to support the war effort. This led to a postponement of the violence and members of the WSPU took to encouraging young men to join the army. Some members of the suffragettes disagreed and thought they should not support a government that did not support women's voting rights. ...read more.

Middle

This included working in munitions factories; nursing; joining the army as a cook, cleaner or secretary as well as other war related jobs. These women included people from all kinds of class backgrounds from working class women to aristocrats. This was the first time it was really seen as acceptable for women other than working class women to be working. This may have helped women to gain the vote, however, the majority of the women who entered the workforce to help with things such as munitions would have been young and probably under 30. This means that although women surely helped to win the war, giving women over 30 the vote at the end of the war cannot have been as a direct "reward" for their effort during the war. It seems more likely that the effect war had on gaining women the vote was less direct than this. ...read more.

Conclusion

Allowing women the vote meant they could claim that they were conceding to Suffragists and Suffragettes without making any major changes, since the women who could now vote would be likely just to vote the same way as their husbands did, or used to if they had died. This meant that the campaigns could be stopped while they tried to restructure the country and they would not get in the way. By claiming that it was the war that gained women the vote and not the militancy of the Suffragettes they did not encourage others to use the same techniques and also made the women who had actually made a strong contribution to the war effort think that they had gained a reward. Without the war women would probably have gained the vote at around the same time due to the efforts of campaigners but if the campaigns had stopped at the time they did and there was war then suffrage may never have been attained for women in Britain. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sammy Alkhalaf 06.11.05 ...read more.

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