Women's Suffrage Movement

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Women’s Suffrage Movement

Women’s suffrage is the right of women to vote. The women’s suffrage movement was struggle to gain the same right to vote as men. WSM was between 1860 ans 1915. This essay will explain the “slow” progress of WSM.

In 19th century women had no place in national politicis. They could not stand as candidates for Parliament and they were not allowed to vote. It was assumed that women did not need the vote because their husbands would take responsibility in political matters. A women’s role was seen to be child-rearing and taking care of the home. In 1832 was the First Reform Act it gave the vote to half million more men. Middle-class men could now vote as well as landowners. In total about one-fifth of all men were given the vote. Women were legally prevented from voting and this Act now excluded women. Organised campaigns for women began to appear in 1866. In 1867 Second Reform Act gave the vote to 2.5 million male houseloders. There was no progress made on votes for women but John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment that would have given the vote to women on the same terms as men but it was rejected by 194 votes to 73. Furthermore Dr Richard Pankhurst gave may examples of women voting at this time. The campaign gained momentum after this.

In early Victorian period(1860-1897) the status of women was limited. Mens care about work, politics and war and women raise children and give support and comfort to their husbands. In this time family and home means the basis of a stable social life. Women were “possession” their husbands and until 1852 a women could not leave her husband legal. They have no right to own property or keep any income. The law was beginning to change that and by 1880 position of married women improved. In 1839 Custody of Infants allowed that a women who wants to divorce could apply her children but only under the age of seven. In 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act allowed for easier divorce. This new law means that there was a Divorce Court and proceeding was cheaper than before except for working-class families. In 1870 Married Women’s Property Act allowed to keep any property or income after marriage for women. In 1878 Magistrates Court allowed to divorce from abusive husbands. Proceeding was much cheaper on this court than on the Divorce Court and it was good for working-class women. In 1882 the Second Married Women’s Property Act allowed to keep all property or income. Middle-class women’s job ordering of the home and raise children if she had been employed before marriage she had to give up her job. Middle-class women married much later and they had more time for activities outside of the house than working-class women. Middle-class women were expected to stay at home in 1860. In 1871 nearly 32% of British labour force was female. Single women were more likely to be employed than married women and more working-class women were employed than middle-class women. Working-class women usually worked in munitions or textile factories. They were unskilled and they had low-paid jobs. Mid 19th century were changes in employment for women it means that employment opportunities were growing and development of new chain stores but it was still low pay.

Until 1850 the opportunities for girls to be educated were very limited. Church and charity schools provide a basic elementary education for working-class children but they received little or no education. Middle and upper-classes educated their daughters at home. In 1870 Education Act said that all children between ages of five and eleven had to receive a basic education. In 1860 Elizabeth Garett was allowed to study. Company of apothecaries had to accept her if she passed exams but she had to pay heavy fees. Later she was the first women doctor who could to practise. Miss Buss and Miss Beale were pioneer of Women’s Education. Buss was at the forefront of campaigns for the endowment of girls' schools, and for girls to be allowed to...
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