Britain 1906 - 1918   click here to close window
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Gaining Women's Suffrage
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1867 John Stuart Mill put his case to Parliament for female suffrage.

Parliament passed Parliamentary Reform Act giving the vote to many working class men.

London Society for Women's Suffrage formed to campaign for female suffrage.

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1870 Married Women's Property Act allowed married women to own their own property - until this point all women's property belonged to the husband.

Elementary Education Act passed, which allowed women ratepayers (property owners) to vote for and serve in school boards.

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1875 Women allowed to be elected as Poor Law Guardians.
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1885 Parliamentary Reform Act extended the vote to most men over the age of 21.
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1888 Local Government Act allowed women to vote in elections for county and borough councils.
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1894 Parish Councils Act allowed women to serve on urban and district councils.
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1897 Formation of NUWSS - National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (the main Suffragist movement) - under leadership of Millicent Fawcett.
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1903 Formation of WSPU - Women's Social and Political Union (the main Suffragette movement) - under Emmeline Pankhurst.
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1904 Beginnings of militant action. Emmeline Pankhurst disrupted a Liberal Party meeting in Manchester.
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1905 First arrests of Suffragettes for disrupting a Liberal Party meeting.
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1906 Election of Liberal government. Four hundred of 650 MPs were in favour of women's suffrage.
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1907 Women's Suffrage Bill introduced in March but ran out of time to become law.
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1909 Liberals introduced a radical Suffrage Bill proposing women's suffrage for some women and the vote for virtually all men. The Bill was passed in the Commons but then delayed by Parliamentary disputes over the People's Budget (see Gallery 2). The Bill was dropped when a new election was called in 1909.
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1910 In June an All Party Committee of MPs put forward a Conciliation Bill to give some women the vote. The Bill was passed by the House of Commons but then dropped when another election was called in November. Furious Suffragettes stepped up their campaign of violence resulting in many clashes with police and arrests.
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1911 Conciliation Bill reintroduced in May and passed with large majority. In November the Liberal PM Asquith then changed his position. He decided to drop the Conciliation Bill and bring in a new measure to give more men the vote. He then indicated that MPs could add an amendment to give some women the vote.
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1913 Government's Male Suffrage Bill introduced. However, the Speaker of the House of Commons ruled that a Male Suffrage Bill could not also give votes to women. The amendment to give votes to women was withdrawn. Militant suffragette action became even more intense, including arson attacks and the destruction of the London to Glasgow telephone line.
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1914 Great War broke out in August 1914. All women's suffrage campaigners stopped campaigning and supported the war effort. Despite this, the NUWSS continued to represent women and to press for recognition of the work that women were doing.
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1918 Government passed a Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to all men over 21. Some women also got the vote: women over 30, and women over 21 who were householders (owned their house) or married to householders.
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