Votes for women 1900-1928. Source based work. " Why did women get the vote?" "Was it the work that women did during the war that got them the vote?"

Authors Avatar

Sarah Olaore 11G        Page         11HI2 Ms. ‘Neill

Votes for women 1900-1928.

Question 5.

“ Why did women get the vote?” “Was it the work that women did during the war that got them the vote?”


This essay will look at sources H, I, J and the use of my own knowledge to deliberate upon historian’s views on the central reasons why women got the vote in 1918.

        Some historians argue that it was the work that women did in the First World War that led to them acquiring the vote. Other historians argue it was a strategy to divide the women’s movement. This was because only the ‘safe women’ who were over the age of 30 that were awarded the vote. The main reason was that these women were seen to be sensible and likely to vote the same way as their husband. This essay will examine all sides of the argument.

Source H.

Source H is a secondary source taken from an educational history book ‘Women suffrage in Britain, 1928-1967’ written in 1980.        

Initially the author appears to agree with the statement that women acquired the vote due to their contribution during the war. For example when the author states that someone with ‘a very simplistic view would see the vote as a reward for loyal wartime service.’ The author is stating here that the suggestion that women were given the vote due to the work they did during the war would be a simple, basic, straightforward way for other historians to summarise the reason why women acquired the vote in 1918.


In actual fact on closer inspection the author actually disagrees with the statement that ‘women acquired the vote due to their contribution during the war’. Instead the author states that ‘women workers received a warm welcome; but in farms hospitals and factories they were greatly resented.’ The author goes on to state that ‘men felt happiest if women became nurses, providers of refreshments for the troops and brought up fighting men of the future.’ While the men were fighting and the women were helping, some men did not welcome women in various jobs and industries. This was because the men felt threatened by the women. This view is understandable, as men had been brought up to disregard women. However due to the war women were doing ‘male’ jobs and this led men to believe that women were taking over their jobs and the British jobs and industries.

Join now!


The author indicates that politicians partially agreed with men when the author comments on the view that ‘politicians themselves agreed with the idea that the women who brought children up successfully had performed a service for the government.’  This political view backs up the working mens view because the politicians are simply saying that women’s work was making babies and that was enough.

        The author of the book believed that women did not acquire the vote due to their contribution throughout the war. Instead the author believed this, as it was only women aged 30 and above that ...

This is a preview of the whole essay