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Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870?

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Introduction

Why did a campaign for women's suffrage develop in the years after 1870? During the 19th century women were seen differently, through the eyes of the law, men and work. Most people believed that women should be passive 'ladies'; obedient to their husbands and should stay at home. Married women's property was owned by their husbands and so was their financial, political and social power. Women didn't have similar rights as men did during the 19th century and this had started to get more and more noticed, by women, towards the 20th century. Women were put into three types of class systems, working class being the lowest, middle class, being the intermediate and rich class being the highest. A woman's husband's class would determine which class she would belong to. Most working class women were noticeable if they had a tan. The reason being is that working class women would have had to do the domestic work as well as earning money by working for an employer, usually at a very low pay, and this would have resulted in the woman having a tan. Most working class girls were brought up into poor families and had to start work at a young age. They earned little money and tended to marry men from there own deprived class. However, middle class women had diverse experiences and attitudes towards themselves. ...read more.

Middle

Working class women couldn't educate themselves due to their class, middle class women had accepted their position on the sexual hierarchy and where known as 'helpmeets' towards men whereas rich class women were allowed to educate themselves but there were only a handful of good academic girl's schools at that time, of which the government didn't bother much about. Even though some women didn't want a change, things were starting to look good for the ones that did. In 1874, the first school of medicine was founded for the medical education for women. In 1878, London University was the first to award women degrees on the same terms as men. Although some opportunities were opening for women, the idea of disparity was still consistent. Changes in the legal status of women encouraged women to campaign for the vote because the general attitude towards them was beginning to change due to the legal status at that time such as the Custody of Infants Act, which was introduced in 1839 and meant that women were authorized to claim custody of young children following separation. In addition, the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 introduced the possibility of a civil divorce, one that could be granted without an act of Parliament. Also the Matrimonial Causes Act allowed legally separated women to retain their earnings, giving them some control over their own income for the first time. ...read more.

Conclusion

All of these reasons have given women a better understanding on why they should gain the vote and to demonstrate why male and female 'separate spheres' should interlink with each other to give the genders equal roles. I think that female suffrage groups acted like the spark that lit the fire for female equality as it gave women a voice to express their feeling on how they would have liked to be treated and the rights they would have liked to achieve from the government. Suffrage groups were a good way of campaigning towards the 20th century because people, such as the government, would have noticed suffrage groups and would have listened to their explanations rather than listening to only one person trying to explain a point. Although women had started to make points that they'd feel strongly about clear, this wasn't enough to gain the vote. Women had gained social and economical freedom, however they had still lacked in political freedom, which had started to exasperate the majority of them. Groups such as the Suffragists were making points clear to people, however there slow moving process was not going to plan as women still hadn't gained the vote towards the 20th century, and if their was no vote then their would be no change, so women had started to run out of ideas and most of them had started to run out of patience. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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