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Transcript of SUFFRAGETTES
The movement for vote to women getting more and more violent
TASK - Insert here a quotation from Christabel's speech you consider particularly significant or striking
Pankhurst family's engagement
Emily Davison stroken by King's horse
From suffragists to suffragettes
In 4th June 1913, during Epsom Derby,
, an activist for women’s suffrage, threw herself onto the track trying to grab the bridle of Anmer, a horse owned by the King. The demonstrative act turned to a tragedy, as she was stroken to death. The jockey was seriously injured, but survived. Davison’s extreme act divided the public opinion, but it also achieved the result of gaining to suffragettes’ movement a greater male political support. Eventually, with the outburst of World War I, the discussion on women’s suffrage was set aside.
Thursday, December 22, 2015
Vol XCIII, No. 311
WOMEN’S FIGHT FOR POLITICAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS AT THE BEGINNING OF 20TH CENTURY
Write a 300 words short synthesis about this unit's topic
Votes for women was part of a gradual improvement in women's rights that had been going on throughout the 19th century. The movement also campaigned for the right to divorce a husband, the right to education, and the right to have a job such as a doctor. Many women, however, saw the vote as the vital achievement that would give them a say in the laws affecting their lives.
The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies - the Suffragists - was formed in 1897 and led by Millicent Fawcett. The group was made up of mainly middle-class women and campaigned peacefully. The organisation built up supporters in Parliament, but private members' bills to give women the vote all failed.
The Women's Social and Political Union - the Suffragettes - was formed in 1903 and led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Although this group was also middle class, it heckled politicians, held marches, members chained themselves to railings, attacked policemen, broke windows, slashed paintings, set fire to buildings, threw bombs and went on hunger strike when they were sent to prison. One suffragette, Emily Davison, ran out in front of the king's horse during the Derby of 1913 and was killed.
The East London Federation of Suffragettes - formed in 1914 by Sylvia Pankhurst - was made up of working-class women. This group concentrated on social reform, and rejected the violence of the WSPU.
Women were not given the vote before the war. At the end of the war, in 1918, however, the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 the vote, and in 1928 this was extended to all women over the age of 21.
(1858-1928) was maybe the most outstanding activist in the movement for women’s rights. Married to a 28 years older lawyer involved in the suffragist movement, after her husband death she founded Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to "deeds, not words”. Its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers. Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists received repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions. As Pankhurst's eldest daughter Christabel took leadership of the WSPU, antagonism between the group and the government grew. Eventually the group adopted arson as a tactic. The Pankhurst family was responsible for the violent transformation of suffragist movement into suffragettes movement and of the consequent loss of public consensus.
Christabel Pankhurst's speech, 1908
After watching this video, answer the following questions:
1) What’s the main difference between suffragists and suffragettes?
2) What was the most violent demonstrative act during suffragettes’ fight?
3) What was Pankhurst’s thesis about women’s right to vote?
4) How did the public opinion react to suffragettes violent demonstration? How were they considered?
5) When did British women finally get the vote?
1) When was suffragist movement born?
2) Did suffragette’s violent strategy get any immediate result?
3) What punishment did Pankhurst family get for their violent fight?
4) Why did the government refuse to give the suffragettes what they asked?
5) How many women did run for the first elections?
1) What was its primary purpose?
2) How many members did Suffragettes organization had by 1914?
3) What was Pankhurst family’s reaction to their imprisonment?
4) How did women social situation change with the outburst of World War I?
5) How many women were elected in the first elections?
1) When did suffragettes start using violent method? Why?
2) What was the name of the new organization founded by the Pankhurst family? Why did it have more radical approach?
3) What was the most striking demonstrative action in suffragettes’ fight?
4) Why did women finally get the vote?
5) Was vote to women a consequence of World War I? If so, in which terms?
VOTE FOR WOMEN - THE ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST
The following are some of the most frequent arguments given for and against vote to women. They are what people of the opposite opinion said at the time. In pairs, divide the arguments according to their thesis (for or against the vote), matching the opposites and putting them into a table.
Women are equal before God. / Women already have the vote in local elections. / Women do not fight in wars. / Other countries have given women the vote. / Many women do not want the vote, and would not use it if they got it. / Some women (eg doctors and mayors) are far better than some men (eg convicts and lunatics) who have the vote. / Women pay taxes. / The vast mass of women are too ignorant of politics to be able to use their vote properly. / A woman's place is in the home; going out into the rough world of politics will change her caring nature. / If women are given the vote, it will not be the gentle intelligent women who will stand for Parliament, but the violent Suffragettes. Parliament will be ruined.
"The militant suffragists who form the Women's Social and Political Union are engaged in the attempt to win the parliamentary vote for the women of this country. Their claim is that those women who pay rates and taxes and who fill the same qualifications as men voters shall be placed upon the parliamentary register. The reasons why women should have the vote are obvious to every fair-minded person. The British constitution provides that taxation and representation shall go together. Therefore, women tax payers are entitled to vote. Parliament views questions of vital interest to women such as education, housing and the employment questions and upon such matters, women wish to express their opinions at the ballot box. The honour and safety of the country are in the hands of parliament. Therefore, every patriotic and public spirited woman wishes to take part in controlling the actions of our legislators. For forty years, this reasonable claim has been laid before parliament in a quiet and patient manner. Meetings have been held and petitions signed in favour of votes for women but failure has been the result. The reason of this failure is that women have not been able to bring pressure to bear on the government and government moves only in response to pressure. Men got the vote, not by persuading but by alarming the legislators. Similar vigorous measures must be adopted by women. The excesses of men must be avoided yet great determination must be shown. The militant methods of women today are clearly thought out and vigorously pursued. They consist in protesting at public meetings and in marching to the House of Commons in procession. Repressive legislation make protests at public meetings an offence but imprisonment will not deter women from asking to vote. Deputations to parliament involve arrest and imprisonment yet more deputations will go to the House of Commons. The present Liberal government profess to believe in democratic government yet they refuse to carry out their principles in the case of women. They must be compelled by a united and determined women's enfranchisement measure. We have waited too long for political justice; we refuse to wait any longer. The present government is approaching the end of its career. Therefore, time presses if women are to vote before the next general election. We are resolved that 1909 must and shall be the political enfranchisement of British women."
A comment to Christabel Pankhurst's speech from an historian's point of view
Are women's rights an universal achievement? How
do women react to lasting sexual discrimination?
Is there a point in today's women fight?
Look at this video about Femen movement demonstration. Can you find any analogy with suffragettes fighting means? Discuss with your groupmates.
1) Are women's rights to be considered universally achieved in European society?
2) Are Femen movement's means of protest acceptable? Compare them with the ones of Suffragettes.
3) Are Femen's objectives so clearly stated as suffragettes?