The Suffragette’s were a group involved in the Women’s suffrage movement of the 19th and 20th century. The struggle for equality for women in Great Britain started long before the turn of the 20th Century. Not all suffragettes agreed with militancy.
The movement split into two major factions: The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society (NUWSS) led by Millicent Fawcett and The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) led by Emmaline Pankhurst and her daughter Sylvia. The WSPU and NUWSS’s fight for rights included constitutional methods, acceptance of imprisonment for civil disobedience but were best remembered for their acts of militancy.
Throughout the Women’s Suffrage Movement the WSPU’s activities included constitutional methods as well as militant ones, but it was for militancy that the Suffragettes were best remembered. As younger suffragettes realized that “polite” methods previously used by the older generation were achieving very little.
The only option left, they believed, was to gain press attention. Emmaline Pankhurst’s group pursued actions that would grab the attention of the press but then had not yet reached their heights of “destructive protests” yet.
What role did the Women’s Suffrage Movement Play during the “Quiet Revolution” in the Bahamas? Notable women such as Dame Doris Johnson, Mary Ingraham, Eugenia Lockhart, Mabel Walker and Georgianna Symonette has made countless triumphs toward the equal rights of all women in the Bahamas. In particular all of these women mentioned before were major persons in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the ...
The WSPU’s policy was to gain publicity: its members were encouraged to think up protests “more colourful and more commanding of attention than anything ever seen before.” As Emmaline Pankhurst stated. 1910 saw the women’s suffrage event of Black Friday. The Conciliation Bill was a bill that would extend the right of women to vote in the UK and Great Britain to many wealthy property owning women.
The bill made it to the second reading but British Prime Minister at the time, Herbert Henry Asquith, indicated that there would be no more Parliamentary time for the reading in the current session. On response the WSPU sent a delegation around 300 women to protest and 200 were assaulted when they attempted to run past the police. It was the first documented use of police force against the suffragettes.
Post Black Friday, The WSPU’s impatience to be heard lead them to a militant protest targeting property and avoiding violence against others. At first it was smashing windows shop fronts, but ultimately escalated into the burning of houses and public buildings including Westminster Abbey. It also famously led to the death of campaigner and member of WSPU Emily Davison as the King’s horse trampled her.
Other militant acts included the burning of churches, restaurants, and railway carriages, cutting telephone lines, spitting on police officers, and smashing of government windows and in June alone the WSPU made $54,000 worth of damage. The WSPU’s activities included constitutional methods, but it was for their militancy they were most remembered.
Although militancy was the most effective action used by the Suffragettes, important tactics also included acceptance of imprisonment for civil disobedience. The WSPU, after their militant acts were imprisoned after being on trial, then refusing to be fined. In opposition to the continuing and repeated imprisonment of many of their members in 1909, The WSPU introduced the prison hunger strike.
Mariane Wallace became the first major hunger striker. She refused even bread and water. She had not discussed her tactics with Emmaline Pankhurst or anyone from the WSPU. Soon, other Suffragettes followed her lead. The hunger strikes drew the interest of the press and the public. The response of the prison authorities was force-feeding. This was a horrible process that involved shoving a steel tube down the nose or throat of the woman while she was restrained. When the press reported this there was a public outcry.
Perhaps the area that has changed the most for Scottish women in the last century is the family and the home. In the first half of the century the norm was for the woman of the house to 'service' the male breadwinners within the home and family and to reproduce as their primary roles in life. This included many tasks including preparing meals for the whole family, looking after the family budget ( ...
The suffragettes got a boost in support. The government later passed the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for III Health) Act 1913 (commonly known as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’), which allowed the release of severely ill suffragettes who were close to death due to malnourishment. Officers could re-imprison them again once they were healthy, in an attempt to avoid force-feeding.
This skilled tactic brought the issue to the media and led to the famous poster with a photo of prison guards force-feeding suffragettes and the words “Torturing women in prison vote against the government”. Between 1910 and 1912 more than 150 local councils in Britain passed resolutions supporting voting rights for women. The suffragettes’ tactics included imprisonment for civil disobedience.
A particular feature of the tactics the Suffragettes used was the dexterity shown in constitutional activities. In 1906, one of the first major attempts to achieve suffrage to gain national attention occurred when a group of 300 women met with British Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman to argue the case for female suffrage.
The NWSS led by Millicent Fawcett restricted itself to peaceful demonstrations. The NWSS took their petition to Henry Fawcett who supported the idea of universal suffrage, Fawcett added an amendment to the Reform Act that would give women the same political rights as men, but it was defeated by 196 votes to 73.
The NUWSS didn’t give up and held public meetings, organized petitions, wrote letters to politicians, published newspapers and distributed free literature. Although they were very determined to achieve their purpose of votes for women, they never resorted to violence to do so. In 1903 a few members left to join the WSPU. The suffragettes showed much dexterity in their constitutional activities.
Undoubtedly, The WSPU and NUWSS were organizations apart of the suffragette movement in helping women gain the right to vote. They used constitutional methods, imprisonment for civil disobedience and militancy to try and help the women’s suffrage movement for the better. Although, It was for their militant acts that they were best remembered for.
Waverley G. C. S. E History Coursework Assignments Assignment Two Syllabus 'C' 1327 By Ola Akin lade 7/11/03 Women's Right To Vote The right to vote (suffrage) in general elections was given to women over thirty years of age in 1918. This new law was passed by parliament at the end of the First World War (1914-1918).Although on 2 nd July 1928 the law was passed allowing all women over the age of ...