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Britain: British Society 1890-1918 - The Issue Of Votes For Women

In GCSE History students will learn about British society at different times. One era they will look at is from 1890-1918, and one topic covered will be the issue of votes for women.

British society changed radically in the early 20th Century. The issue of votes for women was a major political concern in the years leading up to the Great War. Women activists were divided over how to influence an apparently indifferent Parliament. Change, when it came, took many people by surprise.

Find out more about British society and the issue of votes for women by playing this quiz.

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  1. Which Act of Parliament of 1913 allowed for women prisoners who embarked on hunger strikes to be freed until they had recovered?
    Hunger-strikers were traditionally dealt with by force-feeding, a gruesome process that required several prison staff and medics to insert a tube into the woman's stomach, until complete digestion had occurred. Releasing female prisoners temporarily into the community avoided this distasteful treatment
  2. At which race meeting was Emily Davison killed in 1913, when she ran onto the course and was fatally injured by the King's horse "Anmer"?
    This event aroused mixed emotions: everything from sympathy for Emily Davison to sympathy for the horse
  3. In 1914 a quarrel erupted between Christabel Pankhurst and her sister Sylvia. What was the issue at stake?
    This argument within one family could have damaged the cause of women's votes. The outbreak of war in August 1914 put many current issues on ice - like the vote, Irish Home Rule, etc
  4. Queen Victoria, who died in 1901, made plain her attitude to female suffrage. What was it?
    Constitutionally Victoria should not comment on live political issues, but we know her views as she didn't hesitate to tell courtiers and visitors what she thought
  5. Suffragists were members of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. Who founded this organisation?
    This group attracted a large membership and had the field to itself until the founding of Emmeline Pankhurst's body in 1903
  6. What was the essential difference between suffragists and suffragettes?
    There is no doubt that the existence of two separate groups weakened the campaign for women's franchise
  7. Emmeline Pankhurst founded the WSPU as a rival to the NUWSS. What do the letters WSPU stand for?
    The existence of two rival groups no doubt weakened the movement for women's votes
  8. What was the importance of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in the campaign to secure women's rights ?
    The first women to enter the profession boosted the suffragette cause. If women can aspire to these high-powered jobs, it was argued, why should they not have the vote?
  9. In 1918 a section of the female population won the right to vote at last. So in the "Khaki Election" of December 1918 which women were allowed to vote?
    At the end of hostilities many women had to give up jobs to returning men, but nothing was likely to be quite the same again
  10. Which one factor best explains the grant of the vote to some women in 1918?
    A new, more democratic atmosphere pervaded many parts of the Western World

Author: Edward Towne

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