What Are Women's Suffrage?

Decent Essays

The initial fight for women’s suffrages begun as early as the 19th century, while some historians believe that Mary Smith initiated this political crusade when she presented the first women's suffrage petition to Parliament in 1832 (Bartley, 2003). By 1900, women were allowed to own and keep property after marriage through the Married Women’s Property Act that was written by Richard Pankhurst in 1870, although it was heavily altered after it went through Parliament. Despite this, it was was a major milestone for women’s rights. In addition, they were granted the first equal pay resolution thanks to Secretary of the Women’s Trade Union League, Clementine Black, in 1883 (Lambert, n.d.). Successful attempts for women’s suffrages continued in the …show more content…

Their violent methods were replaced with protests, strikes, posters and fliers that supported the war effort (Bartley, 2003). Although most suffragette groups replaced their feminist activity with patriotic movements, the NUWSS was divided, with a lot of them unwilling to support the war. This disagreement led to a division that resulted in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Bartley, 2003). The remaining members, however, were active in wartime relief work. Due to the collapse of industries such as dressmaking, which employed a large number of women, female unemployment was at its highest when the war first broke out. This soon became the focus of the NUWSS, which organized the unemployed and interviewed women to replace the men, when there was a shortage of workers in 1915 (Bartley, 2003). Despite the initial hesitance to allow women in the workforce, the urgency for workers meant that traditionally masculine jobs such as railway guards, ticket collectors, buses and tram conductors, postal workers, police, firefighters, and clerks were primarily occupied by women, along with jobs in engineering, machinery, and factories (, 2016). Other women joined the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACS), which was formed in 1916, the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS), or the Women’s Royal Air Force …show more content…

The rise of their employment rates, however, did not come with equal wages. Although a Committee was set up by the war cabinet to examine their wages, and produced a report that said “equal pay for equal work”, there was an expectation of women being weaker and having “special health problems”, which would prevent them from producing the same work as men. Despite this, unions still received guarantee that they would receive the same wages as men, but that was only during the war. After the war ended and the report was no longer credible, men feared that most employers would prefer women over them, due to the low wages they received. Alas, this was not the case. Most men returned to their previous jobs or took over already occupied jobs, while the women that worked alongside them had to compete with them for a much lower wage. This resulted in a series of strikes, most notably in London buses and trams in 1918, which spread to the South East and the London Underground. This marked the first equal pay strike that was ultimately won (,

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