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Women's Vote and Their Work During World War I

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Women's Vote and Their Work During World War I "Leeds Express: 4 March 1868 I wonder, Mr Editor, Why I can't have the vote; And I will not be contented Till I've found the reason out I am a working woman, My voting half is dead, I hold a house, and want to know Why I can't vote instead I pay my rates in person, Under protest tho, it's true; But I pay them, and I'm qualified To vote as well as you." Sarah Ann Jackson The purpose of this investigation is to analyse the issues surrounding the eventual enfranchisement of women in 1918, to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the militant Suffragette campaign in the early years of the twentieth century and to decide whether the outbreak of war was instrumental in achieving enfranchisement, or merely a fortunate coincidence. The poem written by Sarah Ann Jackson underlines the fact that many middle class women had, throughout the reign of Queen Victoria, taken issue with men's dominance over their lives and had worked hard throughout these years to draw attention to women's right to equality. For these women, enfranchisement was not their sole aim. Queen Victoria was a fierce opponent of women's rights. "The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad wicked folly of women's rights, with all its attendant horrors on which her poor sex is bent." Queen Victoria 1870 Traditionally women's roles were within the home as "moral educators" and little or no formal education was offered to them, leaving them domestic prisoners[1]. Two factors in achieving their emancipation had to be addressed. Women needed an equal entitlement to the educational opportunities offered to men and they needed to gain the right to vote. Without access to equal opportunities they could not compete with men in the work place and therefore could not achieve financial independence.[2] In order to change these policies women needed the right to vote. ...read more.


This is reinforced by the fact that women on the Isle of Man were enfranchised in 1881! The election of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister in 1905 proved to be the trigger that released the pent up frustration of the militant feminists, marking the beginning of the period of violence and civil disturbance for which the movement is best known. He resigned in 1906 and H H Asquith became Prime Minister. He had initially been sympathetic to the women's cause but the continuing campaign of violence made it difficult for him to continue to be supportive. Christabel Pankhurst set up an arson campaign in 1911, which led to mail boxes set alight, bombs sent through windows, attempted arson on the Home Secretary: David Lloyd George's newly built house, and many other actions.[21] The Suffragettes, during the seven months running up to July 1914 participated in arson on eleven works of art in the National Gallery. An insurance company estimated that the Suffragettes caused £250,000 worth of damage in the first seven months of 1914. [22] This alienated a huge section of the population. It has to be remembered that, whilst many men and women supported the cause for enfranchisement, there were far more who were opposed to it. Angered by the actions of the Suffragettes, these people helped to return the Liberals to power, albeit with a reduced majority. From this it could be argued that, had there been less violence, the outcome of the 1910 election might have been different. The following four years saw continuing acts of arson and bombing, jailing and force-feeding which ended only with the outbreak of was in 1914. In 1912 the Labour Party declared itself to be in support of the women's enfranchisement and the NUWSS/Labour alliance was formed. Women were hopeful that the 1912 Reform Bill with its inclusion of women would be successful. "The passing of the Reform Bill with the inclusion of women will be the outward and visible sign of a profound ...read more.


1848 Women admitted to 'London University' 1850 North London Collegiate School for girls established 1854 Cheltenham Ladies College founded 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act set up divorce courts. Women can now have access to divorce although only on a major charge other than adultery. 1867 John Stuart Mill publishes speech on 'Admission of Women to electoral franchise' 1870 Married Women Property Act enables women to keep up to £200 of the annual salary Education Act provides elementary education for girls as well as boys 1871 Newnham College, Cambridge founded 1872 London School of Medicine for Women founded Girton college moves to Cambridge 1873 Custody of Infants Act extended to all mothers 1876 Medical schools open to women 1882 Married Women's Property Act enables women to keep and manage own property 1884 Married Women's Property Act makes women no longer a 'chattel' but an independent and separate person 1886 Guardianship of Children Act means that women can be sole guardian if husband dies 1894 Local Government Act enables women to vote for parochial councils 1897 Foundation of NUWSS by Millicent Fawcett 1903 WSPU founded by Emmeline Pankhurst 1907 Qualification of Women Act enabled women to become councillors 1910 Violent campaign for women suffrage started including 'hunger strikes' and the 'arson campaign' 1913 Emily Davidson kills her self at the Derby 'Cat and Mouse Act' passed 1918 Representation of the People Act gives votes to women over 30 1919 Sex Disqualification Act opens up all professions to women except the church 1923 Women allowed to obtain divorce on the grounds of adultery alone 1925 Married Women's Property Act require husband and wife to be treated as individuals in any property transaction 1928 Representation of the People Act. Women over 21 were given the vote Bibliography for history coursework 1. ' My Own Story': - Emmeline Pankhurst War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, Volume II. 2. Aspects of British Political History 1815-1914: - Stephen .J. Lee 3. Mastering Modern British History, Macmillan Series, Second Edition: - Norman Lowe 4. The Virgo book of Suffragettes: - Joyce Marlow 5. ...read more.

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