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To What Extent Was World War 1 the Most Important Factor in Enabling Women to Gain the Right to Vote in 1918?

  • Date Submitted: 02/29/2012 08:37 AM
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In 1918 women finally won the right to vote, but only for women over the age of 30 who owned property themselves or who were married to property owners. Although this doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, it was a huge breakthrough for women.
It was such a big breakthrough because men saw women as too emotional to handle the responsibility of the vote and ill educated. Men also thought that if women became involved in politics the home would suffer and women would lose their femininity in politics.
This was a very sexist view as women could become doctors, teachers and lawyers but still were not allowed the right to vote. Women were being treated to same way as criminals, which they did not deserve, what they did deserve was the right to vote as women already voted in local elections which proved that they didn’t vote for radical people and should be trusted. Women also paid taxes like men so should be able to influence MPs on how the money is spent.
By 1903, some women became so frustrated that men wouldn’t give them the vote that the decided to form a new organisation. This was called the Women’s Social and Political Union but they were known as the suffragettes. “Deeds not Words” was their motto and they were prepared to use violent and aggressive methods to get what they wanted. However, the suffragettes hoped that whatever tactics they used, no one would be physically hurt except perhaps themselves. The leader of the suffragettes was a woman called Emmeline Pankhurst.
The suffragettes even had a weekly newspaper called votes for women which had a circulation of around 40,000 people by 1914, which was another point proving to men that they can be organised, capable citizens running their own newspaper.
When the suffragettes moved to London, it provided opportunities for staging spectacular demonstrations. Women's Sunday on 21st June 1908 was a large meeting held by the WSPU. It brought suffragettes from all over the UK to march in seven different...


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