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Essay The Development of a Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Early 1870's

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The Development of a Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Early 1870's


The campaign for women's suffrage gathered support after 1870, mainly
because of a growing number of women who, through education, realised
society was extremely unequal and recognised a need for change through
action. The Forster act of 1870 which gave compulsory primary
education to girls, was a landmark event that meant the women of the
future would have the ability to question the inequalities of a
chauvinistic society.

Other important factors were an increased awareness of women's
suppression throughout society, the general public's changing view of
a women's place, not just in the home but at work and the growing
economic power that women had inevitably gained through an increasing
presence in the workplace. These reasons meant that by 1897 an
organised, nationwide movement, the 'National Union of Women's
Suffrage Societies' (NUWSS), had been formed to fight for the rights
of women.

The NUWSS were campaigning for these rights because they saw that the
laws of the land were hugely sexist. Not only were a woman's legal
rights owned her husband but her body was also his legal property.
When it came to divorce a man only had to prove one of the three
grounds of divorce (adultery, cruelty and desertion) in order to
divorce his wife, where as a woman had to prove 2 of the 3 and often
had added difficulty in arguing their case in a court. It was these
types of injustices that inspired many women to campaign for change.

In 1866 only the most privileged of men had the ability to vote on the
government that would run the country but a parliamentary reform bill ...


... middle of paper ...


...ociety's changing opinion of women was further helped along its way
by the war and many peoples prejudges were undermined but it was
certainly changing before the war began. The numerous alternations to
laws between 1860 and 1912 clearly show represent that and votes for
women was the obvious next step from those laws. There was also a
large amount of support in the house of parliament for women's
suffrage before the war began which of course developed with time.

I do think that women over the age of thirty gained the vote in 1918,
partly because of their involvement in the war effort. However, the
war took place only in the last four years of an extensive fifty-year
campaign. It just took the war to prove, along with the campaign for
suffrage, that there is no place for sexism and inequality in a
democratic society.


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