Essay on WWI and Women's Right to Vote in 1918

Essay on WWI and Women's Right to Vote in 1918

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WWI and Women's Right to Vote in 1918

The Campaign for women’s right to vote started in the 1860’s with
mainly middle class women and some men. At first the campaigning was
peaceful and respectable and the lobbying was conducted discretely,
without causing hindrance to anyone. It commenced in large cities such
as London and Manchester however soon more people joined and the
campaign spread across England. The women were known as suffragists
(NUWSS) and were an amalgamation of many suffragists’ societies but
after four decades of campaigning some women felt they had made no
progress and decided to take violent action. These were known as
suffragettes (WSPU) and started in 1903. This breakaway group was led
by the Pankhurst family and used more militant and radical means. This
made the general public and parliament realise that they could no
longer ignore this campaign and something would have to be done. Even
so it was still another fifty years until women finally got the vote.

Prime Minster Asquith was strongly opposed to women’s suffrage but
agreed to meet a deputation of women. He told them they must show
there was widespread support for their cause before the government
would introduce a bill into parliament. In response the WSPU staged a
demonstration of 200,000 people on the 21st of June 1908 which was
pre-war. Source A is a photograph of this demonstration but there is
some discrepancy over the exact number of people there. The picture is
also posed and therefore could not be a true example of the whole of
the protest. It is counter propaganda and was therefore produced to
change people’s views. The protest was non-violent unl...


... middle of paper ...


...ey had still not been granted the right to
vote, despite large scale campaign. Opinions were gradually moving
towards support for women’s suffrage but in 1914 the majority of
politicians didn’t share the view. I think that even without WWI women
would eventually have been granted the right to vote but it could have
been a long time after 1918. WWI was a catalyst which speeded up the
process. It earned women the respect of men and the parliament because
they were vital to the war effort. It was seen that women could
operate outside of the home and therefore gained the right to vote as
a reward for there invaluable efforts in the war. After the war men
realised that women wouldn’t go back to the roles in the home they had
previously fulfilled and therefore without WWI women wouldn’t have
gained the right to vote in 1918.

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