The campaign for women’s suffrage beginning by the end of the nineteenth century as more women at that time were more educated which allowed them to get jobs. This meant the amount of independent women increased so people thought they should be allowed to vote if they do not rely on men.
On the other hand some people thought it was bad for women to have the vote because at that time most women were dependent on men – being obedient to husbands, had fewer rights than men. Also hardly any women were employed (especially married women) as they were expected to stay at home, work, clean and look after the children instead of going out and getting jobs which they would be paid for. Meanwhile the men were expected to go out everyday and bring money back home to put food on the table which the wife would prepare.
Men have always had the right to vote, whereas women were treated as inferiors. People never accepted that women are as capable as men and can do the same and even better than men. Women started to finally demanding their rights and voting, they believed, was one of their birth rights.
Women should be able to have an interest in doing other things outside of household chores and looking after the family.
In addition, women have to obey the same laws that men do, so as you can imagine it is very unfair that they did not get to choose which laws were made. Therefore if women had the vote, they made a contribution in choosing the laws that they had to follow.
It was highly biased that all of the professional and credible jobs were given to men as they were seen as the more important people. Gaining women suffrage would not straight away ensure that women and men are treated equally but it will make a great start to gender equality in England.
Liberals didn’t want women to have the vote because they were worried if property owning women were given the vote then they would vote conservative. Conservatives were against women voting, worried they would vote for liberal or labour. Meanwhile Labour, started in 1900, was in favour of female suffrage but wanted all working class women to get the vote first.
Earning the right to vote would deliver much more opportunities for women in England at that time. For example: They would make a contribution to the laws set in England, it would show gender equality and e.t.c.
There was a divide between the women who were protesting for democracy. Women decided that they should be involved in the general election that took place (every 4 years). A group of people –mostly women- called the Suffragists and were part of the ‘National Union of Women’s suffrage society (N.U.W.S.S) which began in 1897.
The leader was called Millicent Fawcett who was born 11th June 1841 and died 5th August 1929. Before being the suffragist’s leader, she concentrated mostly on the struggle to improve women’s opportunities for higher education and in 1871 co-founded Newham College, Cambridge. She came from a highly privileged background as her father was a wealthy merchant and ship owner.
Millicent started to have an interest in women’s suffrage after hearing a speech in 1865 by John Stuart Mill on the subject. She was very impressed by his speech and became and active supporter of his work. In 1866, only at the mere age of 19, she became the secretary of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage. John Stuart Mill introduced her to many other women’s right activists among the included her husband to be (despite the 14 year age gap) Henry Fawcett – a liberal Member of Parliament who was interested in her sister earlier.
Henry Fawcett was blinded in a shooting accident in 1858 while Millicent was his secretary. Their marriage was described as perfect and although many people warned her about the disadvantages of marrying a disabled man, she still cared for him whilst pursuing a writing career of her own. They had a child called Philippa Fawcett who was born in