Source 2: A Suffragette on the
The argument of
the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics.
Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, speaking on 16 February 1911.
Emmeline Pankhurst was the leader of the WSPU.
Source 3: A Government Minister
on the Suffragettes
Suffragettes the sense to see that the very worst way of campaigning for
the vote is to try and intimidate a man into giving them what he would
gladly give otherwise?
Lloyd George, speaking in 1913.
George was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Although he was not opposed
to votes for women, he believed that the government could not be seen to
give way to force.
Source 4: The Effects of the
War according to Constance Rover
It is frequently said that women were given
the vote ‘because of the war’… The war changed the situation in more
ways than are obvious at first sight. The obvious effect was that
women’s contribution to the war effort was seen and appreciated and that
women, instead of being subjected to frequent criticism in the press and
by public figures, were very generally praised. Public opinion became
overwhelmingly favourable towards women.
Women’s Suffrage and Party Politics in
Constance Rover was one of the first feminist historians, and is very
highly regarded historian.
Source 5: The Effects of the
War according to Paula Bartley
It would be naïve to believe that women
received the vote solely for services rendered in the First World War.
It must be remembered that only women over 30 were given the vote and the
very women who had helped in the war effort – the young women of the
munitions factories – were actually denied the vote. The significance of
women’s war work in the achievement of the vote is therefore perhaps not
as great as first assumed. In reality, women were greatly resented in
both agriculture and industry… Men ‘froze out’ women workers, gave them
no help and even sabotaged their work… The reasons for the shift which
took place in Government thinking therefore need consideration.
Paula Bartley, Votes for Women 1860–1928 (1998)
Paul Bartley is
Lecturer in History at the University of Wolverhampton and an acknowledged
expert on women’s history.
Source 6: Different Claims
To this day, many
people equate the British women’s suffrage struggle and the final victory
with the famous Pankhurst family and their militant supporters in the WSPU.
In its early years the WSPU was a bold, innovative, imaginative
organisation, among the first to appreciate the value of publicity. Not
without justification, its members regarded themselves as the elite
soldiers of the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign. But for every suffragette
there were always dozens of non-militant suffragists. Some would argue –
including me – that it was the moderates of the NUWSS, led by Millicent
Fawcett, who actually won the vote. In 1912, while the militants
embarked on arson and bombing, the NUWSS made a successful working
alliance with the growing Labour Party. It was this group which
successfully lobbied for the 1918 Franchise Act.
Joyce Marlow, Votes for Women (2000)
Marlow was an actress before she became a full-time writer. She writes
novels and books about women’s history