"Their contribution during world war one was the main reason why the majority of women gained the right to vote in 1918" How valid is this view?

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Before 1918, women were considered to be very much within their own sphere of influence separate from men. Throughout the 19th century women had slowly been gaining voting privileges, but only in areas considered to be within their spheres such as the vote for school boards, the vote for poor law boards and the vote for county councils. Traditionally many historians have argued that the main reason for the enfranchisement of women in 1918 was their work during world war one. This view is being disputed on multiple levels; some argue that the war itself called for a rearrangement of the whole electoral system. Alternatively other historians argue that the work of the women's suffrage workers such as the suffragist's and the suffragettes,…show more content…
This clause meant that young men who had been fighting overseas during the war for more than six months did not meet this requirement and were disenfranchised. This caused public outrage and was seen to be completely unacceptable that young men were deemed ineligible to vote for the government of the country they had risked their lives fighting to protect. Bartley argues that due to the unjustness of this, the whole electoral system had to be rethought and this included women's rights.
Although the war and women's efforts during the war were a significant factor in gaining the vote for women, the campaigning of the suffragist's has been argued to have been of more significance. The National Union of women's suffrage societies or the NUWSS aka the Suffragists was an association composed of mainly middle class women who were well educated and brought up believing in equal rights for women. The reason there were very few working class women in the NUWSS was because they were generally not supported by their husbands as working class men believed that women should remain below them and did not believe in equal rights. The leader of the NUWSS was Millicent Fawcett; a middle class woman, married to a lawyer and was brought up believing in equal rights. Millicent Fawcett and the NUWSS employed peaceful tactics such as holding peaceful protests in the form of marches and wrote newspaper articles in order to campaign for women's rights. There has been much dispute

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