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Flashcards in Female Suffrage Deck (14):

What were the arguments for female suffrage?

Votes for women would improve life for all women.

Australia and New Zealand had given the women a right to vote in national elections.

Many women were already involved in politics at the local level.

Women paid the same rate of taxes as men so should be able to vote for the politicians who spend the taxes.

Britain was not a democracy if 50% of the adult population could not vote.


What were the arguments against female suffrage?

Women and men had different spheres. Men were suited to work and politics and women were suited to home and caring roles.

Most women did not want the vote or were nor interested in it.

Women were irrational and would not vote wisely.

Giving the vote to some women would mean giving it to all men, even if they were unworthy.

Women did not fight in wars, so they should not be able to fight for a government who may have to declare war.


Who were the suffragists?

The NUWSS, led by Millicent Fawcett, formed in 1897.

Had over 400 branches all over the country with over 100,000 members.

Membership was mainly middle class women. There were some branches in northern-textile towns.

They were very good at propaganda - produced newsletters and posters.

They ran large campaigns and petitions and wrote to MPs.


Were the suffragists an effective movement?

Arguably it was not effective as it failed to get women the vote by 1914.

Suffragists did manage to get women's suffrage bills proposed to parliament several times between 1900 and 1914.

They managed to keep the issue of womens suffrage in the public eye at a time where many MPs were not considering the issue.


Who were the suffragettes?

WSPU, founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters in 1903.

Suffragettes believed the best way to achieve suffrage was with direct action. This would attract the governments attention.


What action did the suffragettes take?

Breaking windows in downing street.
Chaining themselves to railings.


What was the government response to the suffragettes?

Police and government treated the suffragettes harshly. They were often assaulted in demonstrations.

The government responded with force feedings which were painful, degrading and potentially harmful.

The liberals introduced the Cat and Mouse Act in 1913. Hunger strikes were released in order to recover and then returned to prison to finish the sentence.


What was the most famous Suffragette protest?

4th June 1913
Emily Wilding Davison threw herself in front of King George V's horse at the Epson Derby and died 4 days later. She had previously commited acts for the suffragette cause - bomb attack on David Lloyd George's house.


What were hunger strikes?

Some suffragettes deliberately got themselves arrested to draw attention to their cause. Once in prison some went on hunger strikes demanding to be treated as political prisoners.


Were the suffragettes an effective movement?

Suffragettes didn't achieve the vote by 1914.

They divided the women's movement - the suffragists distanced themselves from the suffragettes.

Suffragette violence turned some MPs against female suffrage. It also turned some public opinion against it.

Suffragette actions meant that issues of female suffrage were never forgotten.

Many people admired the suffragettes for their willingness to fight for their cause.


How did women contribute to the war effort?

Women worked in munitions factories. It was dangerous work but gave the women money and status.

Women took over the jobs that the men had left behind. Women worked on Britain's farms in the Women's Land Army and kept some football teams going.

Women encouraged their husbands to join up for the war. Mothers encouraged their sons to join up for the war and criticised mothers who wouldn't let their sons join.

British hospital units in France were mainly staffed by female nurses.

The Womens Auxillary Arms Corps involved women working as drivers, secretaries and officials on the front line.

The salvation army provided soup kitchens for convalescing soldiers and front line troops, many of which were run by women.


In 1918, who was able to vote?

Men over the age of 21
Women over the age of 30


What happened to the female suffrage issue during the war?

1914 -1915: suufragists and suffragette differences disappeared. They raised money for women left behind.

1916: Since so many men were fighting in the war, the government gave all the men the vote. The suffragists and suffragettes publicised the involvement of women in the war effort.

1918: All women over 30 could vote. In 1928 all women over 21 could vote.


How important was the war in securing votes for women?

Some historians believe that the womens involvement in the war was the decisive factor. It showed the government that like the men, the women had also made a huge contribution for the sake of Britain throughout the war. Others believe that war work gave MPs an excuse to drop their opposition to female suffrage without looking like they had given in to the suffragettes.