Why Did Women Achieve The Vote In 1918

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The view that the reason for main women achieving the vote in 1918 was due to the hard work of women during World War One is highly valid. This view is supported by many historians such as Phillips and Bartley. On the other hand, there are other factors that also contributed to women achieving the vote; changing attitudes of society, politics and the campaigns of the suffragists. Changing societal views is supported by Pugh and Bruley, whereas, Joanou and Purvis show that politics hold conflicting values as they either support women’s vote or are in for the vote to salvage their image. Whilst campaigns of suffragists hold the view of ‘Germany was portrayed as the powerful male aggressor, Belgium and Britain as the vulnerable female victims…show more content…
Pugh claims that ‘People had simply changed their minds in the sense that male prejudice against women had melted in face of revelations about their capabilities during wartime and their contribution to war effort’. Pugh’s view has somewhat strong validity because women were able to move away from stereotypical roles as they took on male jobs and endured the horrible work conditions and pay - this helped support their country showing patriotism and shifting society’s mindset. This can be supported as on factories and farms it was usually calculated that it would need three women to do the work of two men. Statistics support this claim as the number of women employed was between 1-2 million, this was impacted by the help of the Women’s War Register providing employment. However, not all views were changed as some employers made agreements with unions promising to protect skilled men’s jobs after the war; portraying traditional views of women were still present - they were still expected of maintaining their ‘wife and mother’ role. Likewise, Bruley strengthens the argument that ‘One of the ironies of war is that women on whole emerged in 1918 healthier and enjoyed a higher standard of living than in 1914’. Bruley’s view has limited validity because women proved that being employed helped them mentally and physically as work occupied their mind and not their husbands. This helped them build communities of support for their love ones in war. Women were unifying as unmarried mothers, who were usually shunned away in society, were allowed to return to work, although at Woolwich children of these women were cared for in a separate nursery from children of married women. This shows that within society their status now affected them rather than their gender as ‘war made them see women’s traditional roles as wives and mothers as even more

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