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Why did a campaign for women suffrage develop in the years 1870 - 1914?

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Introduction

Why did a campaign for women suffrage develop in the years 1870 - 1914? Throughout the course of this essay I will explore the harsh life that most women faced during the nineteenth century and the uphill struggle that proved to be triumphant in the twentieth century. Life was unbearable for the female of our species during the nineteenth century. The status for women was appalling and all men shared sexist views. Women had no rights. They were forced into saying, doing and even thinking what men wanted them to think. They had no legal standing and no bearing in the make up of contemporary society. Before the push for suffrage in 1870, women had no legal status. Any money a married woman earned from her job would legally belong to her male spouse. As did any of her children and any property or other form of inheritance that may have been descended upon her. Politically, women could not vote in general or even local elections. Instead, important bills were passed under the guidance of all men and the bearing that any woman would hold over the topic would not be taken into account. Women were allowed to earn a limited wage and their job options were also ruthlessly restricted. ...read more.

Middle

The governess was underpaid. She would be treated as a servant and she would be an outcast between the servants as she was from a different class. This career was avoided if possible. Working Class women worked in mines, factories, and mills and on the land. Female workers were paid considerably less than men even though they would work as hard for the same amount of time. Many women worked from home, for example taking in laundry, sewing clothes or making matchboxes. The home-workers were very poorly paid. The major form of employment within women was domestic service. This particular type of work involved women acting as servants. One in three unmarried women were forced to be servants. The pay was even lower than factory work and the hours exhilarating. Servants were lucky to be given one day off every month. Mothering Sunday was originally given to allow servants an opportunity to see their parents. Being a servant was considered to be a 'respectable' job and good training for marriage. Many of the laws involving the status of women and the legal system also contributed to the economical situation with women. These laws include the 'Matrimonial Causes Act' of 1857, which allowed women to keep the money they earn after the couple had been separated. ...read more.

Conclusion

was formed. This encouraged the fight for simple rights and equality and gave women a group to join and a way in which to have a say and express opinions to change Britain. In 1900, married women were allowed to vote for London County Council. A gradual process was beginning to unwrap and a push for more political presence was evident. It was clear that women had come a long way and this was exemplified as another union, the Women's Social Political Union (WSPU) came to ground and a clear political perspective unearthed and began to emerge. As the push for power and presence in society came through, it was clear to see women were able to overcome the prejudices of gender and gradually begin to have a voice. Women conquered the morale crushing taunting and demoralising victimisation by men as they ridiculed women because their argument was initially treated as a joke. However this 'joke' unearthed to become a beautiful plan in the attempts to force laws to be imposed to eradicate problems in social, educational, political, legal and economical regions. This was only possible due to endless campaigning and persistence. The gender-based division had been broken and both sexes were much closer to being united by 1914. Although the hieratical structure of which jobs and privileges were distributed was not completely annihilated, it was made slightly fairer allowing women to have a say, an opinion, a voice. ...read more.

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