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Was the W.S.P.U more of a help or a hindrance in achieving votes for women by 1918 ?

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Inny Atwal Was the W.S.P.U more of a help or a hindrance in achieving votes for women by 1918 ? In 1918 the women's suffrage movement had achieved a great breakthrough. Women who were graduates, owned property or were aged over 30 had gained the vote in Britain and were also able to become M.P's. Although, not all women were able to vote. Before 1918, women had already attained the vote in local elections under the Municipal Corporation Act (1869) and the Local Government Act (1894) and could become councillors by 1900. They were able to sit on School Boards as Poor Law Guardians and married women had property rights and identity. The devotion of the Women's Social and Political Union and the National Union of Women's Social Society played a great part in these accomplishments. ...read more.


This brought immense publicity for the militants and provoked Parliament into taking female suffrage seriously. On the other hand, a hindrance was that the violent campaigns were seen as unwillingness to compromise. Therefore, the militant tactics of the W.S.P.U showed that women lacked the necessary responsibility to govern or vote. Already a rift had been formed between them and the working-class women. There was discontent within the W.S.P.U and a split was evident whereby only the absolute loyal supporters of the Pankhurst's remained. The Pankhurst's were also rapidly alienating opinion in the country, and growing hostility was shown at the meetings by members of the public. The suffragist campaign had gained the support of many M.P's such as Lloyd George and Churchill. Many Liberal backbenchers were in favour of women's suffrage such as John Stuart Mill who brought up women's suffrage on the Second Reform Bill as a serious issue. ...read more.


They could also join political parties, taking part in debates and helping with organization. The impact of the war showed that women could hold down men's jobs and their effort during the war changed men's opinions dramatically about their roles in society. Social change contradicted male ideas and showed that women could be a part of the male sphere without undermining the existing social system. In my opinion the W.S.P.U was more of a help in achieving votes for women by 1918 towards the beginning of their campaign. This is because it gained support and attention to make women's suffrage an important issue. Although, the continuous extremity of their violence did alienate public opinion, and lead to the government considering whether they deserved the vote at all. However, I also believe that social change helped them to gain the vote as it proved that they were capable of doing men's jobs without being governed by emotion and also proved that they didn't give in to male prejudice. ...read more.

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