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Explain the Lack of Success of the Movements for Women’s Suffrage in Achieving the Aims by 1918

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The lack of success of the movements for women’s suffrage in achieving their aims by 1918 cannot be held accountable to solely one reason due to the abundance of causes for this. Voting, however, was not the only area where women were subjected to inequitable treatment: in1850 women were regarded as second class citizens. It was common belief that their brain was smaller than their male peers and they were therefore provided with very little or no form of education which, consequentially, meant that jobs for women were unskilled and low paid. Many professions would not employ a female as it was considered that a woman’s place was in the home. Politics was an additional area where women were uninvolved. Political parties (except Labour) argued mainly against women’s suffrage. Certain individuals claimed that involving women in the world of politics would be wrong due to biological reasons. Movement groups who included women’s suffrage as part of their aims included National Union of Woman’s Suffrage Society (NUWSS) and the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Each of these movements employed very different tactics from each other in the hope that their message would be conveyed effectively and action would be taken by the public and the government. Tactics utilised by these movements – the WSPU in particular – have been cited as a reason for the lack of success in winning the vote for women due to the government and public attitudes caused by their methods. Other factors, however, influenced the lack of success too, for example the arrival of World War I and other subjects that were occupying the government’s attention at that time like the miners and dockers strike and the naval race with Germany as World War I lo...


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...uline spinsters. Other issues the government were attempting to resolve stood in the way of women’s suffrage because they were seen as simply more important than a group of women fighting for the vote. The war may have accelerated or slowed women’s enfranchisement: accelerated due to the war effort contributed from the Suffragettes, slowed because the conciliation bills were already being discussed and proposed before the start of the war. None of these reasons can be cited as a main reason due to arguments between historians over which was most obstructive in the fight for the women’s vote. In conclusion, as there were discussions over the womens’ enfranchisement before 1914 the war almost certainly delayed women getting the vote but the ceasefire of the Suffragettes contributed to a more positive image of women which had been eradicated by their earlier exploits.


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