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Position of Women 1900

Women could divorce their husbands for cruelty, desertion

and bigamy.
Women could keep their own property, and leave their
husbands home.
Wife-battering and marital rape were legal.
Couldnt divorce their husbands for adultery.
A mother had no rights over her children.

FQ: What were the arguments for and against votes

for women?


The Vote is a way of getting rid Women and Men have

of other inequalities. If there
separate spheres. Women have
were more women in Parliament,
babies, men have ideas. God
more laws would be passed in
created them different. Women
the favour of women.
are too hysterical for politics.
There have been changes in
Women do not fight to defend
womens roles. Destroying the
their country. Women wouldnt
separate spheres idea. If they
want Britain to go to war. They
were active in public roles, so
dont earn their vote because
why not vote?
they do not fight in the army.
Its not a democracy until
Dangerous to change a system
women have the vote. If over
that works. If it isnt broken, why
the country cant vote then its
fix it? Britain was powerful in the
not a democracy. Others banned
already existing system.
from voting were criminals and
those certified insane.

Suffragists vs. Suffragettes



NUWSS- National Union of Womens

Suffrage Societies

WSPU- Womens Social and Political


Formed in 1897

Formed in 1903

Lead by Millicent Fawcett

Lead by Emmeline Pankhurst (with

her daughters Christabel and Sylvia)

Campaigned peacefully
Men were allowed to join

Used militant action for their


Democratic Organisation

Women only movement

Many middle class women and

working class women

Run solely by the Pankhurst family

They had more than 100,000

members by 1914

Many upper-class & middle class

women in London. More working
class in Manchester

Main Events 1906-1914




Black Friday


Cat and
Mouse Act






1913, Emily

The Cat and Mouse Act

The policy of force feeding suffragettes who were on

Hunger Strike had the effect of generating sympathy for

the Suffragettes and was politically backfiring. The in the
Temporary Discharge for Health Act, which is better
known as the Cat and Mouse Act.
The Cat and Mouse Act allowed temporary short term
release of prisoners. The authorities now arrested them,
locked them up, let them go on hunger strike and when
they were weak, released them on license. They were
then rearrested and put back in prison to continue their
sentence when they were healthy.

Women in War
The war was a turning point for women and attitudes

towards women.
The Suffragette campaign stopped when war broke out.
At first it wasnt clear what women had to do. They were

used in propaganda to encourage men to go and fight.

E.g. they sent white feathers to cowards.

Women at War
Total war meant that women had to take on male roles,

much to some the male trade unionists dismay.

Lloyd George gave Emmeline Pankhurst a 2000 grant to organise

a rally with the slogan Womens Right to Serve

Lloyd George employed women when he set up the Ministry of

In July 1914 nearly 5 million were in employment. By the

end of the war, it has risen to 6 million.

FQ: How did women contribute to the war effort?

White Feather
Lloyd George paid Emmeline Pankhurst for Womens Right to
Home Front
1million in munitions factories which solved the munitions crisis

By 1914 5 million were in employment

Nurses, doctors, farmers etc.

Why did women get the vote in 1918?

The War
If the suffragette campaign started again, how

could they be put in prison after helping so much

on the home front?
Women defended the country. They were strong,

decisive and reliable. The old arguments about

what women couldnt do were clearly wrong.
The suffragettes called off their campaign when

war started and instead campaigned for women

to be more involved in the war effort.

Their previous campaign

Despite being involved in the war effort, women

in France did not get the vote until 1945. There

was no campaign for Votes for women in France
If the suffragists and suffragettes had not been so

active before the war, then no one would have

thought of giving women the vote in 1918.
If their campaign returned, havoc would resume

which was the last thing Britain needed post war.

Other Reasons
Men had lost their right to vote because they had been

abroad for so long in the war. There had to be a parliament

reform so it was a good time to include rights for women.
Conservative MPs were happy that only 30 year old

women would get the vote. Young working class women

might vote for the Labour Party.
Young and working class women had done the really

dangerous work in the war, e.g. munitions work.

Women in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

had won the right to vote.

Lloyd George replaced Asquith as PM in 1916. He was

more sympathetic to the idea of votes for women.

Young women did the work in the factories but didnt get
the recognition or the vote until 1928. Older women got the
vote instead.

FQ: How effective were the campaigns of the

Suffragettes and Suffragists?
Not Effective
Violence and Militant Actions meant the Government becoming hostile =

Cat and Mouse Act, Force Feeding, Black Friday.

Very Effective
After the war they feared that their chaotic campaign would wreak havoc
with an already troubled Britain.
Their campaign made their cause known.

They very nearly achieved the vote.
They made their name heard.

Not Effective
They were easily brushed off by the government

FQ: Why were some women given the vote?

Contribution to War
If their campaign restarted, how could they be put in jail after their
The separate spheres argument was now invalid.

Their Previous Campaign

Fear that it would restart
Their active campaign made their cause known
France did not get the vote until 1945: they had not campaigned for
womens votes.