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“‘It Was The Militant Suffragette Campaign More Than Any Other Factor That Led To The Achievement Of Female Suffrage In 1918'''

2195 words - 9 pages

“‘It was the militant suffragette campaign more than any other factor that led to the achievement of female suffrage in 1918' How valid is this view?”

In 1850 women were without the vote and excluded politically, but by 1918 most women over 30 could vote and by 1928 all women over 21 were enfranchised on equal terms with men.
There is no doubt that the contribution of women's suffrage movement – mainly the NUWSS and WSPU, are important in the campaign to get the vote for women. Hoverer, there were several other factors which led to the granting of the right to vote to women. Changing attitudes towards women as well as the importance of the contribution of women during the Great War must ...view middle of the document...

His suggestion was defeated, even though 73 men in parliament did support him.
Don't assume though, that all women supported the right to vote. Even Queen Victoria described the suffragette campaign as “That mad wicked folly of women's rights” and when women presented petitions to parliament they could easily ignore it as there was a meagre amount of signatures.

Social change was an important factor in creating an atmosphere of acceptance in terms of women's suffrage. Women were made out to be silly creatures who had a childlike dependency on men. Not much improvement was made to dispel this way of thinking until some laws were passed which gave women more rights and made them a little bit more equal in society., especially laws passed between 1873 and 1983. Laws like The Infant Custody act gave mothers more rights regarding their children and meant that they could petition that all their children below sixteen live with them in most circumstances. It even allowed women who committed adultery to keep custody of their children. The Married Women's Property acts of 1882 and 1893 granted women so much more control of their lives. It granted them full legal control of the property they owned at marriage or property that they got after marriage with money that was theirs. Another thing that was improving for women was education. More options were opening up to women. Women were now equal in terms of primary education and more jobs such as office jobs became available to them but they still were not allowed to be married and have a job so they had to leave their job when they married. There was also political change. The status of some women changed with the Local Government act of 1894 which gave women ratepayers and property occupiers the right to vote in local elections and even the chance to stand for election. As a result women became more involved in politics by joining political parties organising social events and volunteering. The overall effect of these developments was to destroy male prejudices of women. Attitudes that were once common were changing by the end of the century. The previous views of women had become outdated in the eyes of Edwardian men, Women began to show men that their new-found political interests and their changing role in society would not effect their traditional role as a wife or mother.

Overall, it can be argued that Women became increasingly frustrated by the lack of say or equal part women had in British society, and they sought to change that. One of the biggest ways they sought to change that was on gaining the right to vote. This issue will be my focus for this essay and will also focus on many factors that led to women gaining the vote in 1918.

Women decided to fight for the right to vote, and an organisation called the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, known as the Suffragists (NUWSS) was formed in 1897 and the Women's Social and Political Union or the suffragettes (WSPU) was born...

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