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Suffragists and suffragettes:
Began in the late 1860s and was mainly middle-class and used peaceful persuasion used by pressure groups. Parliament debated Women suffrage Bills every year between 1967-1880, no Bill was passed.
Main political parties were constrained by calculations as to how further reform would affect their fortunes. 1903 the Women’s Social and Political Union was formed of forcing the issue of women suffrage to the top of the political agenda
The Suffragettes gained headlines 1905-14 The government began to consider electoral reform in 1916
1918 before the war had ended; a Representation of people Act was passed. Giving
some women the right to vote.
What was the status of women in Victorian Society?
Separate spheres – men and women by nature were fitted to form different roles In the law, every husband had the right of ‘reasonable chastisement’ of his wife. Women were not allowed to own property or keep an income independently (mainly middle-class families)
1839 a Custody Of Infants Act gave women the right to apply for custody of children
under the age of 7
2 1857 a Matrimonial Causes Act allowed for easier divorce (only available through a Private Act of Parliament which was too expensive for even the wealthiest - For a wife to divorce a husband. 1871 nearly 32% of the total British Labor force were female The most important paid occupation for women was domestic service Employment of women in agriculture was declining From under 1million in 1851.5million by 1881 with the growing proportion being women Low pay and long hours Second largest occupation was the textile industry . the number of servants increased to over 1. had been cruel and committed adultery 1870 a Married Women’s Property Act allowed married women to keep all their property or income required after marriage 1878 magistrates’ courts were empowered to grant separation and maintenance orders to wives of abusive husbands (helped working-class women in particular) 1882 a Second Married Women’s Property Act allowed women to keep all property and income acquired independently of their husbands Working class women: Many working-class women had to cope with the effects of poverty. she had to prove that he had disserted them. High mortality rates Men spent large amounts of their wages on alcohol Abuse The notion of ‘separate spheres’ ignored the fact that women constituted a significant group within the employed labor force.
3 - Men employed in textile factories was declining in the years 1851-81 Women workers were paid 1/3 and 1/6 of a man’s wage Legislation in 1840s barred women form being employed in coal mines and other forms of rough manual labor were also declined Women began working in shops with the development of new chain stores in 1970 Growth in clerical work and in the civil service Long hours. Boarding schools provided education for sons 1860s expansion of schools for all classes for both sexes . teaching posts increased Florence Nightingale had made nursing respectable for women - Elizabeth Garret Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake challenged the prejudices of the medical profession and made medicine a career open to women. low pay and bad work conditions had come to be known as ‘sweatshops’ Breaking the mould: Traditional opportunities for the unmarried to take up respectable employment had included work as governesses – this was severely underpaid As full-time education of girls became more common. Women doctors increased from 20 in 1881 to 212 in 1901. by 1911 the number had reached 447 Education: Among the middle and upper classes. the practice of employing governesses for education at home increased.
Was made compulsory in 1891 Female literacy increased from over 73% in 1871 to 97% in 1900 Schools for girls: Education for middle to upper-class women were undertaken by Miss Buss and Miss Beal in 1850 Foundation of North London Collegiate School 1850 Cheltenham Ladies College 1853 1872 Girls Public Day School Trust 1872-94 promoted the establishment of 36 new girls schools which provided classical. publically owned and funded elementary schools ensured that all children from the ages 5-11 should receive basic education . academic education similar to that of boys schools 1902 Education Act allowed rapid expansion of secondary schooling through state grammar schools The number of girl grammar schools increased from 99 in 1904 to 349 in 1914 1914 more girls than boys were remaining at school after the age of 16 University education: Was also undergoing general expansion Oxford and Cambridge had more resistance to admitting female students Girton College 1869 and Somerville College and Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford in the 1970s began the process of breaking down male exclusivity The ‘new women’ were now dressing in more loose and flowing clothes .4 1870 Education Act.
Nine Bills to enfranchise women were placed before Parliament by sympathetic MPs Originally stemmed from a committee of women who planned petitions for women’s rights in 1866 ‘Kensington Society’ was involved in the London National Society for Women’s suffrage that was founded in 1867 1872 various groups had merged into the National Society from Women’s Suffrage (NSWS) .5 - If she were married.Led to the passing of the Second Reform Act 1870-84 the Third Reform Act was passed . she would bear less children Women could now become: Doctors Hospital almoners Factory inspectors Pharmacists Dentists The start of the campaign: 1867 the first-time proposal was put before Parliament .Sent speakers to public meetings .Began to make an impact in the 1870s Manchester: case study 1867 the first meeting for of the Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage was held .
adopted measures such as pressure groups Collected MPs signatures on petitions Large public meetings as well as meetings in drawing rooms Sympathetic members were persuaded to introduce Private Members Bills into the House of Commons NSWS only campaigned for a woman’s right to vote on the same basis as women.6 Early members were respectable middle-class women who had connections in the Local Liberal Party and were involved in nonconformist religious groups Anti-corn Law League 1840 was kept alive by the Liberals such as Richard Pankhurst Success of the NSWS 1860-70 was mainly due: Energy and organizational ability of Linda Becker (its secretary) . not for a more radical and general expansion of enfranchisement They did not attempt to enlist the help of working-class women The emphasis narrowed the appeal for the Suffrage Society and by 1880s was losing momentum Why did the movement begin at this time? Education: The majority involved in the campaign were well-educated working-class women Eliza Dunbar was the first woman doctor in Bristol Radical politics: Many involved came from nonconformist backgrounds particularly the Quakers and Unitarians Had close links with the radical wing of the Liberal Party (and some were married to them) .
led to the first moves of women suffrage campaigners to place their own demands for the right to vote Second Reform Act was passed giving male adult householders the right to vote. Henry Fawcett Single issue campaigns: Debate over changing divorce law in 1857 stimulated women to take up other causes Ladies of the Langham Place took-up causes such as better education from women (Emily Davies). This gave the vote to skilled male artisans 1884 the process was taken further when male householders in the countryside were also granted the right to vote Men’s votes were given by a step-by-step approach The first movement of campaigns for women suffrage began 1866-7 and intensified 1867-84 - - . He put forward the amendment to the Parliamentary Reform Bill 1867 which would have granted women’s votes on the same terms as men. This failed due to resistance from within his own party and from the Conservatives 1867 leading conservative Benjamin Disraeli. who was MP for Westminster from 1865-8. The extension of the franchise to working-class men: First Reform Act 1832 had granted males the right to vote if they were property owners Mid 1860s the political situation was changing 1866 Gladstone had introduced a Bill to extend the franchise to a limited number of working-class men. and entry for women in the medical profession Society for Promoting the Employment of Women in the 1859 and the English Women’s journal in 1858 Support from male politicians: Small number of sympathetic MPs John Stewart Mill was the leading Liberal intellectual. introduced his own measure to reform Parliament The fact that the parliament was again considering the extension of the enfranchise.7 - Millicent Fawcett was the wife of Liberal Minister.
Comprised of 15% of the electorate 1870 local School Boards were established.8 Political rights for women: Even though 9 women suffrage Bills were placed before the Parliament between 1870 and 1884. rural district and urban district councils were established and female rate-payers had the right to vote 1907 women were able to stand as candidates in county council elections By 1900 nearly 1million women were able to vote in local government elections Improved Legal Rights for women: Women suffragists involved in campaigns achieved: 1870-1882 Married Women’s Property Act 1886 the Contagious Diseases Act was repealed and women were no longer able to be called prostitutes and forced to undergo painful medical examinations – led by Josephine Butler Women Political parties: . 1895 128 women had been elected in School Boards and another 893 in Poor Law Boards 1888 elected country councils were established and female rate payers were allowed to vote 1894 elected parish. Women rate payers were able to vote and stand as candidate in School Boards They were also allowed to stand as candidates in elections for Poor Law Boards of Guardians. none made much process 1869-1907 significant reforms: 1869 single female rate-payers were given the right to vote in municipal council elections.
particularly when men are present 1883 Corrupt Practices Act placed restrictions on the amount that candidates could spend on their election campaigns. The two suffrage Bills which were presented to parliament in 1897 and 1908 achieved majorities . with the result that the campaigns relied on more voluntary help (women particularly form the middle-classes) Both the conservative and the Liberal Parties took steps to formalize the involvement of women in their organizations: 1883 the Conservatives formed the Primrose League which recruited both men and women 1887 the Liberals formed the Women’s Liberal Federation was formed to increase the involvement of women in the liberal Party. Parliamentary opinion: Within 20 years of the suffrage campaign. Led by Margret Davies who gave working-class women a vehicle for expressing their view on the social policy. Men were generally becoming more sympathetic as the women were being seen as vital for their parties During the parliamentary debates on women’s suffrage between 1867-84 the majority of Conservative MPs who were opposed to votes for women in 1884-98 now voted in favor. established in main towns and cities in the mid-1880s. Women’s co-operative Guilds. therefore. the doctrine of ‘separate spheres’ was beginning to be successfully challenged and women were established a place in public life.9 It was thought to be unwomanly and sensational for a woman to address a public meeting.
Lord Curzon argued that women were generally indifferent to vote and that they already had sufficient power through their dominant position in the private sphere Hostility was also shown by working-class men and their attitudes reflected in the Labor Movement particularly in the trade unions - Tactical difficulties: Extensions of the franchise to different groups of men had been made on a stepto-step basis and. as so limited the campaign to votes on the same terms as men Anti-suffragists also pointed out that the wealthy brothel madam could vote but the respectable married women could not - Party politics: . there was still some 40% of adult men who did not qualify to vote. that refused to back the suffragists Co-operatives did not come in favor for women suffrage until 1900 Queen Victoria was openly opposed to the cause Octavia Hill and Florence Nightingale were opposed to the campaign whilst the leading socialists. after the extension of the franchise in 1884.10 Why did the suffragist movement not achieve more? There were a number of reasons: The extent of its support Male attitudes Tactical difficulties Party politics the extent of its support: Anti-Suffragists claimed that they were representing a small minority of middleclass women Claims were backed by the Mothers’ Union. Beatrice Webb argued that it was of a lesser priority than poverty Male attitudes: William Gladstone with the leading Tory Imperialist. This was because the vote was still on the basis of property ownership Many suffragists therefore believed that it was unrealistic to campaign for the votes for women.
Memberships and incomes were falling Between 1882 and 1904 many suffragists were disheartened but kept working There were an number of problems the suffragists were facing at the time: 1884 the Third Reform Act had extended the franchise for men in the countryside and lodgers but the Liberals refused to include women - This left the women feeling conspicuously isolated Also deprived the suffragists from the momentum that has been building up since 1867 Neither the liberal or the Conservatives were willing to sponsor any further reforms The formation of the Primrose League in 1883 and of the Women’s Liberal Federation (WLF) in 1887 gave women the opportunity to work in the parties even if they were not accepted as equals . social reform. with only 2 MPs in 1900 and 29 after 1906.11 - Extension of the franchise in 1932-67 and 1884 involved considerations of party political advantage when the details of the reform were being debated Parties and the rich were concerned about how it would influence their fortunes The Liberals and the Conservatives came to different conclusions which mean there was no middle-consensus which would smooth the path to reform Liberal believed women would be natural supporters of temperance reforms. built of the foundations laid by socialist groups like the Independent Labor Party in the 1890s In any event. the Labor Party was not in a position to influence the outcomes of parliamentary debates on women suffrage How healthy was the women’s suffrage at the end of the 19th century? During the late 1880s the women suffrage was in stagnation if not in decline. cheap food and issues which were with the Liberal Party Gladstone believed that votes for women would increase faddism and that they would be more likely to vote Conservative 1900 a new Labor Party was established.
The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was formed to reunite the movement after the splits of the late 1880s Led by Millicent Fawcett and made-up of 16 different suffragette groups Some stayed dominated by middle-class women who preferred the genteel tactics of the drawing-room meeting and parliamentary petitions Radical suffragists: . this caused a split within the Suffrage movement After 1886 British politics were dominated by the issue of granting Home Rule to Ireland. Participation in the political parties distracted attention from the suffrage issue 2. The emergence of groups like the WLF threatened to undermine the nonparty nature of the suffrage campaign - In 1888 the WLF tried to affiliate to the Central Committee of the NSWS. - Miss Fawcett left the Liberal Party in 1886 and antagonized her former Liberal Unionists by appearing on Conservative Platforms to speak against Home Rule. Death of Lydia Becker in 1890 deprived the movement of their most prominent leader. a split which contributed to a period of Conservative domination that lasted nearly 20 years.12 - This developed two dangers for the suffragists: 1. Caused a split in the Liberal Party in 1886. The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies In 1897 a new National organization was formed.
13 Had close links with the Labor and Socialist movements which were gaining strength at this time 1893 a number of local socialists merged together in the Independent Labor Party - The first member of this party was elected in 1892 Meanwhile. within the trade union movement there was development of a more militant form of trade unionism among unskilled workers The radical suffragists brought: Open-aired meetings Factory gate meetings Visiting potential supporters Writing articles for the socialist newspapers The campaigned for: 8 hour day Poverty Education Improved healthcare Efforts would not have been nearly as successful if there had not been a new generation of working women who were being drawn into the suffrage campaign through their involvement in the labor and socialist movement Contributions of: Selena Cooper Helen Silcock Ada Nield-Chew Each had skills of public speaking and organizing They were members of the ILP (Independent Labor Party) and Helen was a trade union organizer. being president of Wigan Weavers Union Gave them the opportunity to take the campaign into the male-dominated Trades Union Congress .
Therefore. it became the suffragette central objective to put pressure on the government to bring forward women suffrage Bill 1905 the Pankhurst’s moved to London where they concentrated on the upcoming general election campaign . .The General Election of 1906 resulted in a Liberal landslide victory after almost 20 years of Conservative dominance.However. embodied the single-minded determination of Emmeline and Christabel – to campaign for the votes for women with the exclusion of all other causes Their militant approach would make it impossible for the ILP and the WSPU to work together . the organisation which became the suffragettes was formed in Manchester in 1903 Led by Emmiline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia Emmiline Pankhurst’s husband was involved in the establishment of the Women’s Franchise league in 1880 Became involved in politics through the membership of the Independent Labour Party in Manchester Formation of the WSPU marked a break from labour Politics Relations with the ILP: The break from the ILP occurred due to: The Pankhurst’s frustration with a movement that was done half-hearted The WSPU under their leadership.14 Who were the suffragettes? The Women’s Social and Political Union. co-operation did continue until 1907 when it broke down due to the strain of repeated attacks on the ILP from the Pankhursts Their militant strategy: The WSPU was based on the belief that the peaceful methods of persuasion had failed to achieve results and that earlier suffragist movement was in decline Only a government-sponsored suffrage Bill had any realistic chance of becoming law.
000 women and even more read about them in the press . the suffragettes became a more militant campaign 1909 they began attacks on property Attacks included: Throwing stones Setting fire to pillar boxes Attempts to set fire country houses Attacks on the golf courses The attempts to storm the lobby of the House of Commons and Downing Street .15 - - The Liberal government was formed under Henry Campbell-Bannerman who was replaced by Prime Minister in 1908 Herbert Asquith Asquith was in office from 1908-16 when the suffrage campaigns increased in severity since there was a large body of sympathetic Liberal MPs (including David Lloyd George) Asquith was opposed to the suffragists What tactics did the suffragettes use? 1905-1908 their militant tactics were confined to hackling of ministers at public meetings Interventions by elections to encourage electors to vote against Liberal candidates Marches Rallies Government was unmoved by the tactics as they claimed that the suffragettes only spoke for the minority of women Their tactics at this day and age were not very different from that of the suffragists NUWSS march in June 1908 attracted a crowd of 30. coincided with Asquith becoming Prime Minister and the size of the crowds were not enough to convince him that it was the majority Attacks on property: Led and organised by Christabel Pankhurst.This however.
but Asquith announced his own intention of introducing its own franchise reform .The government also passed the Prisoners Temporary Discharge Act which allowed hunger strikers to go home and recover before finishing their sentence 1913 Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the Kings horse during the Derby and killed herself .They went on hunger strikes in order to keep the public eye on them The Conciliation Bill: 1911-12 1911 a Conciliation Bill was introduced into Parliament which would have given the vote to a limited number of wealthy women .The WSPU decided to resume militant tactics Renewed violence: After 1912 the militancy became more organised and more expensive Attacks on property included: Breaking windows Arson attacks on buildings A famous painting in the National Gallery (the Rokeby Venus) was slashed Asquith and his ministers were assaulted and threatened Burned timber yards Burned the University sports pavilion (the student retaliated and burnt down the WSPU office in the city) Prisons resorted to force feeding the hunger-strikers .16 After a battle with police outside the Houses of Parliament in November 1910 (known as Black Friday) several suffragettes were arrested including Emmiline and Christabel Pankhurst .This Franchise and Redistribution Bill would have extended the male franchise only.After passing its second reading in the Commons. the Bill was killed through the lack of parliamentary time. but Asquith indicated that the government would be open to amendments that would extend the franchise to women also .
resigned his seat in Parliament to fight by-election on the issue and was defeated In Parliament the pro-suffrage majority was turned into an anti-suffrage majority The suffrage Bills of 1897. The Anti-Suffragists were forced to become more organised in order to counter their campaigns .The National League For Opposing Women Suffrage was created in 1911 3. but this did not mean that the onlookers were sympathetic - - Militancy after 1912-1913 made it dangerous for any suffrage supporter George Lansbury. they had to have the public opinion on their side as well as persuade the government to introduce its own franchise reform None of the objectives were achieved due to: Suffragettes attracted large crowds.1904 and 1908 had all achieved majority on their second readings and their size of their majority had increased after the Liberal Election victory of 1906 .This made recruitment easier and attracted more fund 2. An indirect effect of the militant campaign was to boost membership of nonmilitants NUWSS .17 How effective was the suffragette campaign? By the time the war broke out in 1914 votes for women had still not been won. Four positive effects of the campaign: 1.Membership of the NUWSS grew from 12.Issue of women suffrage was turned back onto the agenda after a lull during 1897-1907 4. There was a succession of parliamentary Bills which were brought forward by backbench MPS 1908-11 .000 by 1904 Overall failure: For women to gain the right to vote through the suffragette campaign. Militancy attracted publicity .000 in 1909 to 50.
Leadership style of Emmeline and Christabel was autocratic and alienated many of the organisations members.18 - - 1911 the Conciliation Bill also had majority MPs in favour.1912 Emmiline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence.and middle class women who did not concentrate on building a mass following of working-class women The WSPU offended virtually all the allies on whom their success was dependent upon .1913 Sylvia Pankhurst herself broke away from the WSPU to concentrate on building support from the working-class women The militant tactics provoked a backlash against the suffrage campaign and polarised opinion.WSPU had no constitution .1906 the WSPU speakers accepted hospitality from the ILP but the spoke out against them at election meetings . In 1912 however. organisation and tactics Other reasons were:.No annual meetings .They demanded unquestioning obedience Style of leadership led to many splits in the organisation as other leading suffragists had to leave . Why did the WSPU not achieve more? Weaknesses in the leadership.No accounts . the Conciliation Bill was defeated by a small majority and another private members bill in 1913 was rejected by an even greater margin It was unlikely that a Liberal government would agree to give the vote to women property owners as this would give and electoral advantage to the Conservative Party The WSPU would not accept the alternative strategy of introducing a more wideranging franchise bill which would extend the franchise to more adult men as well as women. The WSPU was dominated by upper. . who had financed the WSPU and run its newspaper. left to form the United Suffragists .1907 Charlotte Despard and many more left-wing members left from the Women’s Freedom League .The attacked David Lloyd George’s country house .
this marginalised the NUWSS They had a growing income due to new members as they were attracting support from the working-class Pact with the labour party: 1912 the NUWSS was making change in its non-party strategy Both the NUWSS and the WSPU came to the conclusion that Asquith was devious in his behaviour towards the suffragists and came to the conclusion that the Liberal Government would not give suffrage priority The Labour Party had given more support consistently The NUWSS made a pact with the Labour Party under which the Women’s organisation set up and electoral fighting fund and pledged itself to support Labour candidates in fighting against known opponents of women suffrage. the NUWSS became involved in numerous by-elections between 1912-14 in which the Liberals lost a number of seats Impact on the government: Labour party was still small and its leader Ramsay MacDonald.Through this pact. was determined to maintain electoral co-operation with the Liberal which had begun in 1903 . .The intervention of the NUWSS did put pressure on the Liberals Asquith met deputations from the NUWSS in 1913 and from Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffrage Federation in 1914 .The latter group he gave a hint that he had come around to the idea of votes for women and that this would be on the same basis as the franchise for men.19 What happened to the non-militant suffragists? 1908-13 the WSPU was gaining all the attention and press. .
20 What happened to the non-militant suffragists? 1908-13 the WSPU was gaining all the attention and press. this marginalised the NUWSS They had a growing income due to new members as they were attracting support from the working-class Pact with the labour party: 1912 the NUWSS was making change in its non-party strategy Both the NUWSS and the WSPU came to the conclusion that Asquith was devious in his behaviour towards the suffragists and came to the conclusion that the Liberal Government would not give suffrage priority The Labour Party had given more support consistently The NUWSS made a pact with the Labour Party under which the Women’s organisation set up and electoral fighting fund and pledged itself to support Labour candidates in fighting against known opponents of women suffrage. was determined to maintain electoral co-operation with the Liberal which had begun in 1903 – The intervention of the NUWSS did put pressure on the Liberals Asquith met deputations from the NUWSS in 1913 and from Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Suffrage Federation in 1914 – The latter group he gave a hint that he had come around to the idea of votes for women and that this would be on the same basis as the franchise for men. . – Through this pact. the NUWSS became involved in numerous byelections between 1912-14 in which the Liberals lost a number of seats Impact on the government: Labour party was still small and its leader Ramsay MacDonald.
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