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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 In 1918 a major milestone was reached in the fight for women's equality rights, this was women being granted suffrage by the government. During the physical endurance of the four years of the war, women proving themselves equal to men, they were rewarded the vote. The Electoral Reform bill was passed which granted voting rights to all female property owners over 30. Some historians say women were never given the vote; it was hard fought for and won. Many historians believe the war to be a turning point because not only did it seal women's victory over the government it secured their status in society as an equivalent to men. Women's emancipation came in three stages: the first was the long campaign of propaganda and organisation led by the dame Millicent Fawcett, the second was militant campaign of the suffragettes, and the third was the war. Had there been no war, the emancipation would have come, although more slowly. Therefore the war was not the most significant factor which led to the franchise. Other factors were far more important, such as the suffrage movement and other reasons. Thus the war was a catalyst in which eventually the government was forced to give women the vote. The suffrage movement was far more superior in gaining the vote for women because it led the way for the emancipation. ...read more.

Middle

This new group were the opposite of the NUWSS; they were the illegal compared to the legal and ironically they were fighting for the same cause. The WSPU were more radical and militant. The term suffragettes, was first employed in the daily mail in 1906 to distinguish the militant campaigners from the peaceful and constitutional campaigners-NUWSS. By the end of 1906 suffragettes were used for members of the WSPU and suffragists were used for members of the NUWSS. The WSPU wore green, white and purple to represent their cause and also to differentiate them from the suffragists. Their aim was to gain equal and political rights for women. They also restricted members to women only as men were seen as adversaries. The WSPU took direct and rebellious actions and committed outrageous and illegal act. These new and improved ideas included heckling politicians at meetings, chaining themselves to important buildings, burning letter boxes, held rallies, slashed artwork and assaulting police. They disrupted political meetings with publicity stunts such as abseiling in to a liberal party meeting. The increasing militancy meant that many suffragettes were imprisoned for civil disobedience- refusal to pay taxes and in general disrupting the peace. The imprisoned suffragettes went on hunger strikes- hunger strikes began in 1905 as a way of forcing the government to recognise the suffragette prisoners as political prisoners. This particular scandal gained immense publicity because the public were shocked that the authorities were force- feeding women. ...read more.

Conclusion

Due to this there were over a hundred deaths from TNT poisoning as well as various other illnesses. Women working with explosives developed coughing, swellings and burns. Therefore new sets of regulations on safety and health were installed. These included cleanliness, ventilation, washing facilities and appointed full- time medical officers. Women were frequently expected to work over time and paid bare- time rates for their hard work. Meals were often taken in the horrid atmosphere of the work place. It was common for several women to be lying ill due to feverish illnesses. However women never complained or whined about the inconveniences or health hazards but accepted their situation. Women were satisfied to be an asset to the war efforts. The majority of men respected women's attitude and gained major support for their actions. Conclusion Without the faithful preparations of the ground over, many years and the militant campaigners revolutionising the stereotyped image of women, the war alone would not have produced the crop.. The suffrage movement was a combination of the peaceful methods of the suffragists and the militant methods of the suffragettes. Without one another the full effects would not have been gained. The suffragists produced the foundation in which the suffragettes built upon using modernised and radical methods. Without the militancy the suffrage would have been simply ignored, also if there was no foundation the suffrage would not have begun in the first place. Whist there was a common enemy women and men united in Britain's hour of need. 1916 Glasgow Herald 'If victory was to be won men could not afford to hem women with the old restrictions.' ...read more.

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