Exploring Why Women Failed to Gain the Right to Vote Between 1900 and 1914

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Exploring Why Women Failed to Gain the Right to Vote Between 1900 and 1914 There were several reasons that women did not gain the right to vote between 1900 and 1914, both long-term and short-term. Long-term reasons include the opinion many people held at the time that women and men had ‘separate spheres’. They believed that women belonged in the private sphere- in charge of bringing up children, cooking etc and men should be in the public sphere- work, politics etc. Henry Labouchere said “I shall break down all attempts to break down the barrier which nature has placed between men and women” because these roles were thought to have been ordained by God and couldn’t be changed. Some people also…show more content…
They said that the suffragettes were only a small fraction of women so ‘normal’ women were happy with things as they were; whereas suffragettes were simply mad, hysterical spinsters. Also, some people were convinced that women did not deserve to vote because they could not fight or defend their country. Their view was that people earned the right to vote by being willing to defend their nation. There was also a worry that giving women the vote would result in the decline of Britain’s place in the world as women might not want Britain to fight wars. The attitudes of the government obviously had a huge effect on the success of women’s suffrage. In 1900 the conservative government was in power and they believed in the ‘separate spheres’ theory and therefore didn’t want women to vote. The existing political system in Britain worked well at the time so the conservatives did not want to risk the stability of it. Britain had become the most powerful country in the world and changing the system would be a huge risk to take. When a Liberal government came to power in 1906 the problem was that the party was divided on the subject, despite the fact that the leader, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, supported the idea. Two years later, Herbert Asquith, who strongly

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