Suffragettes were members of women’s suffrage (right to vote) movements in the late 19th and early 20th century in the United Kingdom and United States. It was a term for members of suffrage movements, whether radical or conservative, male or female. The women in the suffrage movement in the UK chained themselves to railings and set fires to mailboxes and the contents of the mailboxes. Many of the suffragettes were put in prison in the Holloway Prison in London, and were force-fed after going on a hunger strike. Women in the UK were given the vote in 1918 if over 30 and meeting certain property qualifications, and in 1928 suffrage was extended to all women over the age of 21.
One woman, Emily Davison, died whilst trying to throw a suffragette banner over the King's horse on 5 June 1913.
In the US, women over 21 were first allowed to vote in Wyoming from 1869. The suffrage was extended to women across the United States in time for the 1920 presidential election. Women over 21 were allowed to vote in New Zealand from 1893, in Australia from 1894, and in Canada from 1919.
Suffragettes were mostly women from upper– and middle-class backgrounds, frustrated by their social and economic situation and not having their own freedom as women as men had all the freedom and could do what they wanted and when they wanted. This lead to mass groupes of women fighting to show their anger and their rights as women.
It is said that:
“A few historians feel that some of the suffragettes' actions actually damaged their cause. The argument was that women should not get the vote because they were too emotional and could not think as logically as men; their violent and aggressive actions were used as evidence in support of this argument.”
In November 1918, the Eligibility of Women Act was passed, allowing women to be elected into Parliament. The Representation of the People Act 1928 extended the voting to all women over the age of 21, granting women the vote on the same terms as men.
From what i have researched about Suffragettes, I think it was outrageous how men and the government saw women and how they were excluded from everything. I never really knew about the Suffragette movement and what happened but now I have thoroughly researched it I now understand what it is and how horrible it must have been for the women. I also think it is awful how the were treated and how they had to go to extreme lengths to get the vote for women. I now know and understand that it was these women that got the vote for us today and how they fought hard to get the vote and be seen to have equal rights as men.
The Ascent Of Woman: A History of the Suffragette Movement by Melanie Phillips (4 Nov 2004)
The Suffragettes: In Pictures by Diane Atkinson (16 Aug 2010)
Votes For Women: The Virago Book of Suffragettes by Joyce Marlow (6 Sep 2001)