The Importance Of Women's Suffrage Campaign

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INTRODUCTION Prior to the twentieth century women in the United Kingdom were excluded from parliamentary elections and were not permitted to have a say in political matters concerning their country. On the 6th of February 1918 however, with the conclusion of World War 1 the British government passed the Representation of the People Act 1918 enfranchising all women of the age of thirty and on December 4th 1918 almost seven million women participated in their first ever parliamentary election. For almost fifty years women from all over Britain fought and struggled to secure this right. This is known as the suffrage campaign. The largest and most famous suffrage groups running the campaign were the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) known as the suffragettes and the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) called the suffragists. Nevertheless, the significance of this suffrage campaign has been questioned. It has been argued that it alienated the public as well as the British government and was in fact more detrimental towards the women’s cause rather than effective. Historians have debated on whether there were other factors that were more vital in women securing their right to vote. One such factor is women’s contribution to the war effort from 1914 to 1918. With the outbreak of World War 1 in Britain over 2 million men would be sent to fight at the front. In order for the government to keep the country running and support the soldiers fighting they

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