Events Leading to the Change Women's Status and Role in Britian Since 1900

Events Leading to the Change Women's Status and Role in Britian Since 1900

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Events Leading to the Change Women's Status and Role in Britian Since 1900

Source A is a photograph showing an early suffragette demonstration.
The women shown in the photo are wearing nice dresses, probably their
Sunday best, showing that this demonstration was an occasion to the
suffragettes. There are women of all ages at the demonstration which
shows that the suffragettes had a wide range of supporters. The
demonstration appears to have only just begun as the flag is not yet
unrolled, however this could also been the suffragettes were having a
break form protesting.

There is a policeman in the photo which means the government had
recognised the suffragettes work. The policeman appears to be walking
away from the demonstration which shows the demonstration was
peaceful. Also the fact that most of the suffragettes are smiling and
are happy also suggests that the demonstration is a peaceful one. The
police man could of been there to protect the suffragettes from
objectors that were possibly at the demonstration.

This particular demonstration took place in 1908 which was early in
the suffragettes work and they had not yet really resulted in them
taking drastic measures to get the attention of the government.
Although, in 1905 that the organisation created a stir when Christabel
Pankhurst and Annie Kenney interrupted a political meeting in
Manchester to ask two Liberal politicians (Winston Churchill and Sir
Edward Grey) if they believed women should have the right to vote.
Neither man replied. As a result, the two women got out a banner which
had on it "Votes for Women" and shouted at the two politicians to
answer their questions. Such actions were all but unheard of then when
public speakers were usually heard in silence and listened to
courteously even if you did not agree with them. Pankhurst and Kenney
were thrown out of the meeting and arrested for causing an obstruction
and a technical assault on a police officer. After 1908 the
suffragettes began to get very violent and did anything that it took
to get themselves noticed.

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The fact source A is a photo means that it could be biased or not
biased. It possibly could be biased as the suffragettes could have had
the photograph staged. However, I believe this is improbable as the
suffragettes are unlikely to allow a photograph to be staged. Also the
police officer is moving and I believe this also shows that it was
most likely not staged. A photograph is a good source as it was taken
at the time of the event and can show us what was happening so we can
make are own judgement. However a photo is of limited usefulness as it
is only one scene of a whole day and so we can only comment on what
was happening that second from the photo we couldn’t possibly know
what all the other women that were there were doing.

I think this source shows us that at the time of this demonstration
the suffragettes work was being recognised by the government but
perhaps they were not being taken to seriously as they would of
wanted. This source also shows us that the attitudes of the women was
one of optimism as they are all smiling and seem happy.

Source D is a article about a demonstration by the suffragettes in
London written for a tabloid newspaper. It uses an emotive headline
using words like ‘disgraceful’ and ‘shameful’ to get the reader to
think what they want them to. The article itself talks about an
apparently violent protest at the House of Commons. Although this
source is a primary source as the person who wrote it was at the
demonstration at the time it was happening there are many things that
show this source is biased and untrue. It is written in the source
that one woman was ‘sprawled in the mud’ and this was very unlikely to
have happened as women didn’t show any parts of their bodies in
public, suffragette or not. There was also another version of this
story which is as the women tried to go forward they were pushed and
beaten, thrown to the ground and trampled, had limbs broken and
dislocated, some were dragged down side streets and indecent assaults
were attempted. It is true that many of the women were treated for the
injuries sustained in their clash with the police and so this story is
more probable than the one in the tabloid paper.

Source E is a postcard issued by the suffragettes as an argument in
favour of votes for women. Because it is a postcard it is very clear
and mainly pictorial. This is because these postcards would have been
posted through peoples doors and most people were not able to read.
This meant that the suffragettes were aiming their campaign at
everyone not only the middle classes who could mostly read. The
postcard is, although biased as it was produced by the suffragettes,
quite truthful to the time. It is showing that how can women have all
the same jobs as men and not get the vote when any men, even lunatics,
can still vote.

Both of these sources show the attitudes of different people at the
time. The postcard shows the attitudes of the suffragettes. Tabloid
papers usually write what they think the reader wants to hear and so
the article is most likely the attitudes of the people at the time.
However, sometimes newspapers publish what they want the reader to
think so this article could have been the attitudes of the media of
the time. In terms of which source shows the attitudes of people of
the time I think the magazine article is probably right. This is
because the postcard was written by the suffragettes and although
shows the attitudes of the suffragettes it does not show the attitudes
of the people. We also know that at the time the article was published
the suffragettes were not taken to kindly.

In 1897 the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was
formed by Millicent Fawcett. Known as the ‘suffragists’, they believed
in a policy of persuasion – hoping through meetings, petitions,
reasoned arguments, legal propaganda and the threat of tax avoidance,
to persuade Parliament to grant their demands. However, some women
thought that the progress being made by the suffragists was too and so
the Women’s Social and Political Union was founded by Emmeline
Pankhurst and her daughter Cristabel was founded in 1903.

The suffragettes aimed to attract publicity for their cause and to
annoy the government as much as possible. They were prepared to be
violent to get what they wanted.

The Government and the courts took firm action. When the suffragettes
were arrested they were fined by the courts. When they refused to pay
they were sent to prison. When they went to prison many suffragettes
went on hunger strike and had to be force-fed – which was painful and

Suffragette’s tactics included:

· Mocking members of the government at public meetings.

· Chaining themselves to the railings of Buckingham Palace.

· Assaulting politicians who were known to oppose women’s votes.

· Making attacks on public property.

· Arson attacks.

When First World War in 1914, the suffragettes abandoned their
campaign of violence and pledged full support to the war. During the
war the women filled the jobs that the men had done before they had to
go of for war.

During the war, the Government realised it had a problem. The voting
system required voters to live in the same place for twelve months
before an election. So, if an election was called, most soldiers would
not be able to vote. The Government decided to change the law. Women’s
groups saw their opportunity. They put pressure on the Government to
include votes for women in the changes. In 1918 parliament passed new
laws which gave all women over 30 the right to vote.

All of the sources show the steps that lead to women finally getting
the vote:

Source A -1908 – Source A shows a suffragettes march. A lot of women
took part in the march and so the suffragettes had a lot of support.
There is a police man in the photo which shows the government has
recognised the suffragettes work but even so people weren’t paying
much attention to them and they were still a long way of from getting
the vote.

Source B – 1911- Source B is an extract from a speech made by
Cristabel Pankhurst. What she is saying is that the suffragettes
didn’t have the means to have an orderly protest so they had to do
disorderly ones which weren’t given any support from the government.
They are still very far off from getting the vote because they were
still just getting ignored.

Source C – 1908 – Source C is from another speech this time made by
Emmeline Pankhurst. It is saying that lots of decisions are made about
the home that women can’t get involved in because they don’t have the
right to vote, but the women do basically everything in the home so
they should have more rights in what happens.

Source D – 1910 – Source D is an article written for a tabloid
newspaper, it is about a march that took place at the House of
Commons. It is a very biased and antagonistic report and if this was
true then the suffragettes would probably never get the vote.

Source E – 1910 – Source E is a postcard issued by the suffragettes to
get support. It is not an aggressive source and would not have upset
the government. However, it would have angered the men as it is
basically saying that the men aren’t worth the vote. This postcard
would not have hindered the suffragette’s chance of getting the vote
however it wouldn’t have made it happen any sooner.

Source F – 1912 – Source F is from a speech made by the conservative
leader and is an argument against votes for women. He is saying that
women are not capable of having the vote because of their lack of
education and their feeble minds. The conservative leader is basically
saying that there is no chance that the women will not be getting the

Source G – 1870-1914 – Source G is an extract from a textbook this
means it is a reliable source and would have been well researched.
This extract is saying that the majority of women were not looking for
the vote; they were looking for more say, more status and more
protection. They did not understand that the vote could get them all
the things that they wanted. Many women joined the mothers union
because they thought this would help them get all the things they
wanted. A lot of women were also frightened of the suffragettes. This
source shows that the suffragettes were along way of getting the vote
because even the women involved didn’t understand what they were
actually campaigning for.

Source H – 1917- Source H is a cover of a magazine showing men and
women ‘united in a common cause’. Both the man and the woman are
recognised as equals, both holding up an England flag and standing
tall. It recognises that even if the women weren’t fighting they were
keeping up the home front. This source shows that women were very
close to getting the vote as they were now being seen as equals to
men. However, if the war had not happened then this magazine cover
would not have been produced and women would most probably still have
been seen inferior to men.

Source I -1899–1948 – Source I is an extract from a textbook and is
talking about the men who didn’t get called to war’s attitudes to
women. It is saying that the men at home were hostile to the women
because before the men were able to stay at home as they had jobs that
were important but when the women could do their jobs just as well it
meant they could now be called up to war at any time. Some men even
sabotaged the women’s work. This source only shows the attitudes of
the men at home not those that were away at war. I think that even
though the men at home felt this way it would not really of hindered
the women’s chance of getting the vote.

Source J – 1917 – Source J is a speech made by the former Prime
Minister saying that women should get the vote. Three years ago he
wouldn’t have agreed and was against women getting the vote but he is
saying that he would find it hard not to give them the vote after all
they’ve done during the war. Before the war he would not of even
considered giving women the vote. This source shows that without the
war it would have taken a lot longer for the women to get the vote as
they would have had to find another way of proving themselves.

Overall after looking at the sources and all the other information I
have available to me I believe that without the war the women would
still have gotten the vote eventually. However, I think that World War
One helped get the women the vote earlier than they would have done if
World War One had not happened. I believe that it would have taken a
lot longer for them to get the vote as there protests and
demonstrations were not really getting them anywhere and most of the
sources actually show that the suffragettes were actually hindering
their chances of getting the vote by their violence and aggressive

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