Votes For Women c1900-28

Question 1

From Source A – a poster produced in 1912 by the Suffragettes – it can tell us one of the reasons why the Suffragettes were demanding the vote for women. On the top row, it shows women in highly educated, well paid jobs like a mayor or a nurse, while below it a row of “low-level” men such as a convict and a drunkard. Already here we see a stark contrast in their class. It shows us that women of such quality were not allowed to vote, while men of such low integrity were. A reason why women were not enfranchised was because people deemed them to be inferior and less intelligent to men. However, what this posters shows us is that women can be more educated, and better respected, yet still not get the vote, unlike the men who didn’t accomplish anything good in life, yet still got the vote. Also, people criticised the Suffragettes with their violent methods – which failed, and accused of being crazy lunatics. What the poster also shows is that men could be lunatics, and still gain the votes, but why can’t women do so to.

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Question 2

Source B is an extract from a book written in 1907 called “Woman or Suffragette”. Its main view is that women should not be voting, but in fact were “destined to make voters”. It disagrees with the whole movement, both the Suffragists and the Suffragettes. It also has a reference to the Suffragettes movement, with its “shrill cry”.

Source C on the other hand is a cartoon drawn in 1906 by Bernard Partridge. It shows two campaigners, one – portrayed as a calm, sensible, upper-class woman – a Suffragist, and the other – shown as a crazy and violet woman – a Suffragette. It also shows the Suffragette brandishing her fist, showing her violence and the basis if the Suffragette’s movement. The cartoon criticises the Suffragette movement, with its “shrieking sister”, and shows the Suffragist saying to the Suffragette “YOU help our cause? Why, you’re its worst enemy!” There is also a reference here, like Source B, to the Suffragettes movement, referring to their “shrieking”. This shows us that the artist doesn’t support the Suffragette’s violent movement, but does support the Suffragist’s peaceful movement.

This tells me that Source C doesn’t support Source B fully about the disagreement of the women’s movement, but rather that the women’s movement was acceptable when it took a more peaceful approach.

Question 3

Despite the Suffragette campaign, women still had not gained the vote by the outbreak of the war. Source D – an extract of a book written by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1912 – shows us that because of the failure to have woman enfranchised, the Suffragettes wanted the matter to be more widely noticed by the public. Emmeline said that it succeeded in this because the “newspapers are full of us”. This is like a reason for why the Suffragettes were ‘allowed’ to be violent. Source E on the other hand is a speech given by a Member of the Parliament just a year after Emmeline Pankhurst’s book was written. It is opposing the idea of women gaining the vote, saying that it will “ultimately put the control of the government of this country into female hands”.

This shows us that some members of Parliament opposed the idea of having women in Parliament. Already the sources show us two of the different reasons why women were not given the vote. Another is that the Prime Minister at the time – Herbert Asquith – also opposed women’s rights to the vote. This would have influenced Parliament. Another reason is the public and their opinion. With the Suffragists before, and their peaceful campaign, it got them the vote in local elections. With the Suffragettes, they got people to be scared of them and threatened the welfare of the others. This I think is the most important reason. To be enfranchised, they needed the public’s support, because without this, no-one would support their campaign.

Question 4

Both Sources F and G are useful to find out the contribution of women to the war, both in different ways. Source F is an example of propaganda, made at the time by the government, to try and get women to work in munitions factories, and consequently in the war effort. What this poster doesn’t tell us is the number of women who were working in the munitions factories, but rather that the government allowed women to help in the war effort. In fact, this poster could be telling us that women were vital to the war, and that without women, the war could not have been won. With the women working in factories and doing the jobs that the men did enabled the men to go to war and fight.

Also, the poster, with the words “Enrol At Once” is suggesting that women should do just that. At the forefront of the poster shows a very healthy looking woman, looking like she enjoyed working in the factories. Most women at the time would be working in poor conditions, with little pay and so a poor standard of life. The woman contradicts this, and so makes women want to join up. Also, it shows us that the government wanted to persuade women to work at the factories, and so needed them to be participating in the war. There’s however, no way to know if the poster succeeded or not.

Source F, on the other hand, is a table of statistics, written in the 1980s. This could mean that the data could have been compiled after years of research. Furthermore, as it is published in a school text book, it would mean that it should be an unbiased piece of evidence, unlike the government poster. Although it is a secondary piece of evidence, you can still find out about the contribution to the war done by women, but not fully. The table only shows us the number of women employed in certain industries in 1914 and 1918.

There s no other information telling us about before, during, or after the war. We cannot tell if the number of women working in industries fell or rose during these times. Also, this positive trend may not have happened across all the industries. It also doesn’t show us the facts, but, when compared to the start of the war, there was a significant increase in women working in industries, and so the war effort.

Overall, I think that Source G is more useful. It provides actual statistics, which enables you to make a conclusion about the amount women did contribute to the war. Source F is merely a poster designed to enrol women into munitions factories and shows the government’s need for female contribution to the war effort. It doesn’t give any indication about the number of women working in munitions factories, let alone the industries.

Question 5

‘It was the work that women did during the war during the war that earned them the vote’. Personally I do not agree with this statement. I feel that it is a multiple of reasons, not just the war, which enabled women to be enfranchised. One of the reasons was due to their war effort. In helping out in the war, they earned people’s respect, both the public and politicians. Also, they should people that there were not crazy, violent women as they were seen before, but in fact sane people. Source H partially agrees with this, as it says that “…women workers received a warm welcome” but not

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