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Why, despite the Suffragette activity, had women not gained the vote by the outbreak or the First World War Assignment

There were three main reasons that British women had not gained the vote by the start of World War one, these three aspects all contribute towards the outcome of the situation. One of the main reasons the women didn’t gain the vote, was to do with the tactics and methods used by the Suffragettes. The Suffragette women portrayed the female population to be irrational, emotional and out of control. Source D, a book written by the famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, suggests women did use ‘violent campaigning’.

This campaigning included; Bombing Politicians homes, Arson attacks, Vandalism throughout the country, Hunger strikes and in some horrific cases Suicide. The most well known suicide was that of Emily Davison who, in trying to grab the reins of a horse called Anmer, got caught under the animal and died due to extensive blood loss. Source D goes on to imply women couldn’t get the vote without force. This supports the point about women being irrational and shows women to be unreasonable. The final line in the extract is ‘So, now we will fight for our cause’.

The individual word ‘fight’ shows the campaign is violent. The use of the word fight implies people will be injured, possibly killed, and that there would be only one winner. Emmeline Pankhurst wanted to win and was determined she would. Source E doesn’t say much about the Suffragette campaign and in this way it isn’t very useful. The second reason women did not gain the vote was also to do with the womenfolk and their tactics. The Suffragists were the complete opposite to the Suffragettes.

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Although they were fighting for the same cause the tactics used were very different. Compared to the terrorist styles of fighting on the Suffragettes behalf, the Suffragists used a quantity of peaceful methods. These were methods such as Peaceful protests, national advertising and public speaking. None of these ways caught anybody’s attention to the extent of full media coverage. In source D, Emmeline Pankhurst says, referring to the media exposure, ‘it had never been that before. Now the newspapers are full of us’.

This shows that no real outcome had evolved from the suffragist campaign. The above reasons show that the suffragettes were too over the top in their campaign and put across a bad image for women as emotional and unreasonable people. On the other hand, the suffragists are shown to be not tactical enough. These are two reasons that the women didn’t gain the vote. The two groups are too divided and if they worked together combining peaceful and violent protests they may have been in for a better chance.

My final reason for the failure of gaining women’s votes by 1914 is the Government and current issues. For example the Prime Minister at the time, Asquith, was completely against women’s votes from the beginning of the campaign. This was an almost definite blockade in the fight for votes. It was also well known that MP’s were against votes for women. Source E, part of a speech by an MP, states ‘I have no hesitation in voting against the principle of giving the vote to women’. Sadly, for the women, this was not just the view of one man.

Many members of parliament thought this and this meant that none or little votes for women’s votes would be cast. Around in the early 1900’s, when the women were campaigning, there were many other issues affecting politics. There was a possible chance that the first World War against Germany was about to start. Also there were other strikes to do with employment all over the United Kingdom and on top of that, Ireland was in flames. The women’s drastic performance at this time was no reason to consider the vote.

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