WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN THE UK
Colegiul Național Decebal Deva
Clasa a IX-a D
Why I chose this subject?
Women have traditionally been under-represented in UK political institutions. Although women won the right to vote in 1918 they remained less than one in ten members of parliament until 1997.
Since 1997 significant improvements have been made. The number of women in parliament has roughly doubled, and new institutions have been established with high proportions of women members. These new institutions have also set out to operate in different ways, using new policy-making processes which are more inclusive of women and their concerns.
Women were first legally entitled to sit in the House of Commons when they won the vote, in 1918.
Astor's Parliamentary career was the most public phase of her life, making her an object of both love and hatred. Her presence almost immediately gained attention, both as a woman and as someone who did not follow the rules. On her first day in the House of Commons, she was called to order for chatting with a fellow House member, not realising that she was the person who was causing the commotion. She did try in some ways to minimise disruption by dressing more sedately than usual and by avoiding the bars and smoking rooms frequented by the men. Nancy Astor was an opponent of socialism and, later during the Cold War, an outspoken critic of communism. She was also an anti-fascist. She refused to meet Hitler though she had an opportunity. Despite their opposition to fascism and the Nazis, the Astors supported economic appeasement of Germany, supporting the lifting of economic sanctions against Hitler's regime. During World War II, Nancy Astor was noted for her morale-boosting visits to her constituents, especially during German bombing raids. She just missed being hit once, herself. She also served, unofficially, as hostess to American troops stationed at Plymouth during the build-up to the Normandy invasion. Nancy Astor decided to run for the seat that Waldorf vacated, and she was elected in 1919. Constance Markiewicz had been elected to the House of Commons in 1918, but chose not to take her seat. Nancy Astor was the first woman to take a seat in Parliament. In 1945, Nancy Astor left Parliament, at her husband's urging, and not entirely happily. She continued to be a witty and sharp critic of social and political trends when she disapproved, including both communism and the American McCarthy witch-hunts. She largely withdrew from public life with the death of Waldorf Astor in 1952. She died in 1964 and she was buried in Buckinghamshire, England.
ELIZABETH I OF ENGLAND
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her first order of business was to eliminate religious unrest. Elizabeth lacked the fanaticism of her siblings (Edward VI favored Protestant radicalism, Mary I, conservative Catholicism), which enabled her to devise a compromise that, basically, reinstated Henrician reforms. She was, however, compelled to take a stronger pro-Protestant stance when events demanded it, for two reasons: the machinations of Mary Queen of Scots and persecution of continental Protestants by the two strongholds of Orthodox Catholicism, Spain and France. Elizabeth was a master of political science. She inherited her father's supremacist view of the monarchy, but showed great wisdom by refusing to directly antagonize Parliament. She acquired undying devotion from her advisement council, who were constantly perplexed by her habit of waiting to the last minute to make...
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