Nat 5 Assignment- Asiya Ullah
To what extent were the suffragettes the main reason for women getting the vote?
There has been much debate in recent years among historians about why women got the vote in 1918. Factors to be discussed are why women wanted the vote, who were the suffragettes and the suffragists and how successful were they in helping women get the vote. This essay will further discuss whether women’s war work had an impact on gaining women the vote.
One of the most important factors in women gaining the vote was the suffragettes. In Manchester 1903 Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst set up the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) alongside the help she received from her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. People who supported this campaign were known as the suffragettes.
The suffragettes aimed to be able to obtain the vote in parliamentary elections for women. In order to win the vote for women the suffragettes would stop at nothing: even breaking the law. The suffragettes didn’t have much patience (unlike the suffragists). This was known as militant campaigning.
Impatient for change the suffragettes would do many demonstrations outside the house of parliament and many hunger strikes. The government did not agree with this and would often arrest the suffragettes for breach of peace, this resulted in them going to prison. In protest the female prisoners went on hunger strikes. The government permitted the ladies to be force fed!
As the years went on the suffragettes tactics became very extreme, they began setting buildings on fire and bombing properties. Despite their militant tactics successfully gaining the attention of both the public and parliament many may have agreed with Churchill when in 1895 he wrote (quoted from The Suffragettes and After by J.F Aylett):
“Only the most undesirable class of women are eager for this right. Those women who discharge their duty to the state, [by] marrying and giving birth to children, are adequately...