Suffragette … but what happened next?

READING HISTORY

By Dr Jacqui Turner

1 Copyright Focus Feature

With the release of the Suffragette film this month there has been an explosion of interest in women’s suffrage movements, especially in militant suffrage and the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). However consideration needs to be given to what happened next. What happened after women won the vote and after the militant struggle ended?

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Some women were given the vote under the Representation of the People Act in 1918 and there is an assumption that this was as a direct result of their war work during World War I. This was not the case. The 1918 Act was primarily introduced to resolve the issue of soldiers returning from service in World War I, who were not entitled to the vote as they did not meet existing property qualifications. The Act abolished almost all property qualifications for men over 21 and gave the…

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