Women over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women’s contribution to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain your answer. Free essay! Download now
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Women over 30 gained the vote in 1918 mainly because of women’s contribution to the war effort. Do you agree? Explain your answer.
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| Words: 1200 | Submitted: 23-Jan-2006
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DescriptionA fine essay exploring the reasons for awarding of suffrage for women after the First World War.
First, women’s contribution to the war effort was definitely a major factor in granting women the vote in 1918. To start with, women’s role was to stay at home and encourage men to fight. However, many realised this was total war, involving civilians as well as the soldiers. Women were needed to fill roles of men who had gone off to war, and so women of all classes volunteered to help the war effort. Some women were nurses and ambulance drivers on the front line. Others worked in munitions factories, which was dangerous, as the TNT used in the factories poisoned many women. These women made great sacrifices and some died, as in the 1917 explosion at the Woolwich Arsenal, Silverton, which killed several. Moreover, a few, like Edith Cavell, even died at the hands of the Germans. She was seen as a heroine who had died serving her country. This defeated the previous argument against women’s suffrage that women did not serve their country and so should not vote. Thus, women were enfranchised partly by a nation grateful for their contribution to Britain’s victory in the First World War.
Furthermore, women had demonstrated their resourcefulness, convincing some who opposed women’s suffrage that they deserved the vote. Public opinion had changed, becoming more favourable towards women’s suffrage. Land girls had helped to change women’s fashion, by wearing trousers, while doing valuable work for their country. Thus, women began to wear shorter skirts and became more independent, earning their own wages during the war. This signalled a change in social attitude as women were becoming more equal with men and so deserved the same rights. However, women may have got the vote as compensation for giving up jobs when the great influx of ex-soldiers returning from the war, wanting their jobs back forced most women out of work. The government may have given them the vote as recompense for this.
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