The Differences Between the Suffragists and Sufragettes

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The Differences Between the Suffragists and Sufragettes Essentially both the suffragists (National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies) and suffragettes (Women’s Social and Political Union) were fighting for the same thing. The thing that makes them different was the methods they used to achieve their political common goal. This common goal was to achieve the right for women to vote, and to improve women’s rights in general. Ultimately they wanted equal rights to men. Each method was effective in its own way, and together they achieved the vote for women aged over 30 in 1918. The suffragists were using peaceful methods such as petitions, holding meetings, protests etc. The suffragettes formed because they thought that the methods of the suffragists were failing, and that a more direct approach was necessary, which meant using any means necessary. When the WSPU was founded in 1903 it was not as radical as it started to be in 1910. The NUWSS thought they had persuaded the prime minister to promise to change the law so that women could have the right to vote. He then called an election, so the plan was abandoned. This infuriated the suffragettes, and this was a key turning point in their methods. They decided that much more radical measures need to be taken. The suffragists did not support their plan. They were gradually persuading people to come around to their ideas. They believed that the power of words was very effective and was working, although it was taking more time. By protesting and formulating quality speeches they were not only persuading people, but also showing that they had courage and intelligence, and that they were not controlled by their hearts and emotions. They even allowed men to join. After 1910 the suffragettes’ methods completely contradicted the suffragist movement. They were more radical, and showed less self-control. It looked like they were sabotaging the movement. They were out on the streets vandalising street lamps and stopping keyholes with lead pellets. House numbers were painted out, golf greens were scraped and burnt with oil, etc.
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