contribution to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain Your Answer.
The campaign for women’s suffrage had been going for almost 50 years
before any women in Britain were given the right to vote. In 1918
women over the age of 30 were allowed to vote for the first time. This
was after four years of a war in which women had played a much larger
role than ever before. The war was obviously a factor in women getting
the vote but how and to what extent?
When the war began Emmeline Pankhurst told the Suffragettes to support
the war effort. This led to a postponement of the violence and members
of the WSPU took to encouraging young men to join the army. Some
members of the suffragettes disagreed and thought they should not
support a government that did not support women’s voting rights. These
included Sylvia Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter. Most
Suffragettes supported the war effort though, and this was picked upon
by the press and gained them sympathy as they backed the very
government they had recently been attacking.
The Suffragists also supported the war, although as an organisation
they did not actively encourage men to fight. They had built up
considerable support by 1914 and by then it had become apparent that
any new reform bill to do with voting would have to include women as
well as men. In fact, they had built up so much support that some
people believe the war actually delayed the inevitable and that women
would have achieved suffrage earlier if the war had not distracted
attention away from them.
Many women wanted the “Right to serve”. This did not...
... middle of paper ...
...es without making any
major changes, since the women who could now vote would be likely just
to vote the same way as their husbands did, or used to if they had
died. This meant that the campaigns could be stopped while they tried
to restructure the country and they would not get in the way. By
claiming that it was the war that gained women the vote and not the
militancy of the Suffragettes they did not encourage others to use the
same techniques and also made the women who had actually made a strong
contribution to the war effort think that they had gained a reward.
Without the war women would probably have gained the vote at around
the same time due to the efforts of campaigners but if the campaigns
had stopped at the time they did and there was war then suffrage may
never have been attained for women in Britain.
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