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Women over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women's contributions to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain your answer

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Introduction

Women over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women's contributions to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain your answer. In 1918 an historic act was passed called the representation of people act. This act, for the first time gave the vote to some women. Not all women, but those over 30 and a householder or over 21 and married to a householder. The war produced particular situation which in some ways lead directly to this act being passed. During the war women played a vital role in running the country and this was very influential in them getting the vote. However there were many other factors involved in the campaign. To what extent was it war work and to what extent was it other factors that aided women getting the vote? When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914 both the suffragists and suffragettes temporarily stopped their campaigns. ...read more.

Middle

Many of the jobs women were doing during the war presented them with harsh or dangerous conditions for example women working with explosives developed burns and respiratory problems and women developed sickness from the varnish they used to paint planes. During the war women made themselves indispensable to the war effort and proved they were extremely capable and important to public life. They also proved they were very patriotic and were willing to risk their lives for jobs that were essential to the war effort. Although the work women did during the war was a huge contributing factor to women winning the vote there were also other key aspects that influenced the law being passed. The government decided they had to update the voting system; it excluded many war veterans from voting as it demanded that voters live in the same place for twelve months before an election. ...read more.

Conclusion

The campaign previous to the war had not entirely achieved its goal of women's suffrage however had attracted huge publicity and gained vast amounts of support for the campaign with over 501000 members of the NUWSS. This meant it was always on the public and political agenda was never out of the public eye. The work women did during the First World War was the most influential and important single factor in women gaining the vote. Women proved their capabilities, their loyalties and their ability to be an effective part of public as well as domestic life. However to discount the various smaller factors would be an unfair evaluation of how women gained the vote. The cluster of smaller factors themselves paved the path towards the vote, but it was the occurrence of the war which finally swung the balance. It may be that without the war, votes for women may have been a much longer time coming, or may not have come at all. ...read more.

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