Women Gain The Vote In 1918

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“Some Women Gained The Vote In 1918 As A Result Of Suffragette Actions.” How Accurate Is This View? In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed; allowing all men over the age of 21 to vote, as well as men aged 19 to 20 who had fought in the war, but this act, most importantly, enfranchised women over the age of 30. However, there were various conditions that had to be met. Women had to have a university degree or some higher level of education and they had to be a householder or married to a householder. Many believe that women gained the right to vote in 1918 as a result of Suffragette actions and this is accurate to a reasonable extent, but there are many other factors as to why women were enfranchised, such as the Suffragist…show more content…
This was actually a very important step towards women’s enfranchisement because during the war, women served the nation; doing factory work and men’s work in general. The fact that they were doing something useful to society served as proof that, contrary to the belief that women were “silly” and could not think for themselves, they could be a beneficial force in society. “The war emphasised the participation of women in the everyday life of the nation. It was obvious to all that women were driving vehicles, acting as bus conductors and filling many posts customarily held by men. As we might say today, women’s ‘public image’ changed and improved,” says Constance Rover, a historian. Part of the reason why the war was key to women gaining the vote in 1918, was because of changing opinions towards women. “Surely a land fit for heroes to live in might include a place for a few heroines as well?” says Constance Rover. Women had proved themselves useful which was leading to greater equality with men. It would have been simply unreasonable to deny women the right to vote, especially now that women had more of a presence in society. However, some historians argue that the war was not actually as important as previously assumed because the women that were enfranchised were not the women who had been working for the war effort. Rex Pope, when discussing changing attitudes towards women says “Attitudes to…show more content…
Many believe that the fact that Lloyd George replaced Asquith as Prime Minister in 1916 held reasonable importance. Asquith was not a supporter of women’s suffrage and had been against giving women the vote. Paula Bartley says “Asquith’s remarks about the female electors of Paisley in 1920 suggest he still resented women’s involvement in Parliament – ‘a dim lot, for the most part hopelessly ignorant of politics’.” This sums up his feeling towards women. Lloyd George, on the other hand, “was sympathetic to women’s suffrage.” Another reason for women gaining enfranchisement was because other countries were doing it too and Britain felt the need to comply. Women in New Zealand were enfranchised in 1893, women in Australia in 1902 and women in Canada in 1917. This put pressure on Britain as it could not risk falling behind its
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