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Why did women get the vote

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Why did women get the vote

  1. 1. LEARNING INTENTIONSLEARNING INTENTIONS • Explain the main reasons that women gained the vote on the same basis as men in 1928: • Changing social attitudes • Male political progress • Pressure Groups – Peaceful • Pressure Groups – Violent • World War One • Political advantage • Other countries’ influence
  2. 2. Changing attitudesChanging attitudes Society’s view of women was beginning to change. More women were working and they had also gained more legal rights e.g. • Infant Custody Act 1873 • Local Government Act 1894 (votes for women in local elections) Women were even the main earner in their houses e.g. mill workers in Dundee.
  3. 3. Influence of WW1Influence of WW1 World War One helped change attitudes towards women too. As men were sent overseas to fight in the war, women did the jobs left vacant, undermining ideas they were irresponsible. Also, the Suffragettes suspended their violent campaign to support the war effort.
  4. 4. Changing attitudesChanging attitudes As women gained more legal rights, this was evidence that negative social attitudes towards them were beginning to change. Women’s war effort – both working and the Suffragettes suspending their campaign – also enhanced the idea that women were responsible and deserved the vote.
  5. 5. Changing attitudesChanging attitudes Working women were not a new phenomenon – they had been at the heart of the industrial revolution. Also many working women did not actually get the vote in 1918; under-30s and poorer women (one of the main groups of workers) were not included at first.
  6. 6. Male political progressMale political progress Men were slowly gaining more rights in terms of voting: •Middle class men in 1832 •Skilled working class in 1867 (1/3 of all men) •More working class in 1884 •(2.3 of all men) •Eventually all men aged 21+ gained the vote in 1918
  7. 7. Male political progressMale political progress One reason that women had not gained the vote was that not all men could vote. However as men were given the vote in 1918 it became harder to argue against women also voting. Some people also believed that it was unacceptable for working class men to vote whilst upper and middle class women could not.
  8. 8. Male political progressMale political progress However this is not the full picture. Working class men had gained the right to vote in 1867, and even more again in 1884. If women being allowed to vote was solely about the class system, middle and upper class women would have gained the vote many years before.
  9. 9. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - PeacefulPeaceful The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (the Suffragists, led by Millicent Fawcett) took part in peaceful campaigns including meetings, petitions and parliamentary bills. They also worked with the new Labour Party to support the ‘Votes for all’ campaign.
  10. 10. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - PeacefulPeaceful The peaceful protests that the Suffragists engaged in showed them to be responsible, supporting the idea that women should gain the right to vote. Peaceful campaigning also won them support from different groups, including some male MPs.
  11. 11. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - PeacefulPeaceful Some women had been campaigning for years (the NUWSS was formed in 1897 as a merger of other campaigns) without success. A peaceful approach had not persuaded politicians to give them the vote. Clear action was needed to make them listen.
  12. 12. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - ViolentViolent Formed in 1903 the Women’s Social and Political Union (the Suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst) used extreme and violent campaign methods. They used hunger strikes, arson, and vandalism. In 1913, Emily Davison died at the Derby after running in front of the king’s horse).
  13. 13. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - ViolentViolent Unlike the Suffragists, the Suffragettes violent actions gained a high profile. This meant the issue of women voting was regularly discussed in newspapers and parliament, increasing pressure on the government to act.
  14. 14. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - ViolentViolent Violent women played into the stereotype of women being emotional and incapable of being trusted to win the vote. This in turn undermined the Suffragists’ campaign too. Furthermore the Suffragettes refused to support Labour’s ‘votes for all’ campaign.
  15. 15. Pressure Groups -Pressure Groups - ViolentViolent Events in Ireland also caused problems. The British Government, facing violent rebellion in Ireland, could not be seen to give in to violence. Some Suffragettes were not overly supportive of all women gaining the vote, only middle and upper class women.
  16. 16. Role of World War 1Role of World War 1 Women played a vital role in the First World War, including working in male jobs whilst men fought overseas, and helping the war effort, including working in munitions factories. Chemicals such as sulphur turned ‘munitionettes’ skin yellow, earning them the nickname ‘canary girls’.
  17. 17. Role of World War 1Role of World War 1 Women did a variety of other important tasks too. This included becoming bus conductors, working in various factories and also becoming police officers. In 1915, Edith Smith became the first policewoman to be granted power of arrest.
  18. 18. Role of World War 1Role of World War 1 WW1 also allowed women’s pressure groups to demonstrate a responsible attitude. The Suffragettes and Suffragists both suspended their campaigns at the outbreak of war, arguing that they could not fight at home whilst British men were fighting and dying overseas.
  19. 19. Role of World War 1Role of World War 1 Many people argue that women gaining the vote in 1918 was a ‘thank you’ for their various wartime efforts. In addition the decision of the Suffragettes and Suffragists to suspend their campaign at the start of war showed women to be responsible and deserving of the vote.
  20. 20. Role of World War 1Role of World War 1 Even after the war, not all women gained the vote. Only those over 30 who were property owners or married to property owners. Many of the women who worked in munitions factories were poor, single women under 30. They did not gain the vote in 1918, meaning that the war is not a clear reason.
  21. 21. Political advantagePolitical advantage For many years the Liberals had resisted giving women the vote. The Liberals had rejected various bills and also passed laws designed to target Suffragettes, including the Cat and Mouse Act. However eventually in 1918 the Liberal-led government gave some women the vote.
  22. 22. Political advantagePolitical advantage The Labour Party wanted more working class people to gain the vote. This included women so they worked with the Suffragists to campaign for ‘votes for all’. Many people argued that the Liberals’ belief in giving women the vote was about undermining the rise of the new Labour Party, who they feared losing votes too.
  23. 23. Political advantagePolitical advantage Votes for women became more likely simply because David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in 1916, and he was more open to the idea. There were also numerous other social reforms happening at the times (pensions, etc) so women voting was just an extension of this change.
  24. 24. Other countriesOther countries Countries which were members of the British Empire gave the vote to women: • New Zealand, 1893 • Australia, 1902 • Canada (some areas), 1916 British women were also inspired by suffrage campaigns in other countries.
  25. 25. Other countriesOther countries The actions of other empire countries undermined Britain’s opposition to female suffrage. They could not be seen as a leader if other empire countries led the way on change. Also, during WW1 Britain said it was standing up against tyranny, yet still refused to give women in their own country the vote.
  26. 26. Other countriesOther countries As the head of the Empire, Britain may have been forced to give women the vote, so as not to be undermined by other members. In addition it can be argued that other countries (such as Germany) obviously play a role in starting World War One, which itself helps women gain the vote.
  27. 27. Other countriesOther countries Although other countries gave women the vote before 1918, many did not until after Britain. These included France (1944), the USA (1920) and Spain (1931). Also many of the countries that gave women the vote did so without conditions – unlike Britain.

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