Changes during WWI
Copy and complete…using your
Traditional historians such as Constance Rover highlight the large
importance of WWI in leading to the Representation of the People
Act in 1918.
Women took on many new roles and responsibilities. For example
…………… This helped them gain the vote because __________ and
However, modern historians such as Pugh argue that it is unlikely
that without the prewar campaigning of suffrage groups such as
________ and __________, the government would not have given
women the vote in 1918. After all in France __________________
Also it is wrong to see the vote as a reward for war work because
Activities 1-3
• Finishing completing
Activities 1-3.
Changes during WWI
There were many political changes taking
place during WWI which historians argue
were important to women gaining the vote.
For example:
• PM Asquith was replaced by David Lloyd
George who was more pro-suffrage. DLG
also brought other pro-suffrage MPs
into the cabinet. E.g Bonar Law.
Changes during WWI
Suffragette violence had stopped:
• Many MPs did not want a return of
Suffragette violence & so were more keen
to appease them by including them in
future reforms.
• Also, the government would not be seen to
be ‘giving in’ to violence of Suffragettes
but rather awarding the vote because they
wanted to. (Make government look positive,
not the Suffragettes).
Changes during WWI
‘Mother of Democracy’
• GB had been fighting in the name of
democracy but did not practice this at
• Other countries now had female
suffrage, e.g. New Zealand, Denmark, it
was embarrassing for GB, the ‘ Mother
of Democracy’.
Changes during WWI
Party Loyalty?
• During the war a coalition government
created, so parties weren’t as
worried about one party benefiting from
female voters. i.e. Many women may feel
sense of loyalty to the party in power
that was granting women votes.
Changes during WWI
Returning Soldiers:
Soldiers returning from war would have been
denied the vote as they would not have met
the 12 month property qualification.
- This meant that the government would
have had to review the voting system.
- During discussion of the above, women’s
suffrage was raised and subsequently
included in the 1918 Act.
Why did women get the vote?
Your task – You have to convince the judge that
attitudes to women (before the war) were changing and
this helped women get the vote.
Attitudes to women were changing and this helped women get the vote.
This was important because
This was important because
Attitudes to women were changing and this helped women get the vote.
Attitudes to women in politics were
changing. In 1869 the municipal
franchise allowed women to vote in
local elections. From 1870-1884 women
were able to vote on local, town and
county councils.
The Married Women’s Property Acts
(1870 & 1882) allowed married women
to keep up to £200 in earnings and
personal property. The second act
allowed them control over all property
& money they brought to the marriage.
It also allowed them to carry on with
whatever trade or business they had
worked in before they were married.
This was important because their involvement in politics
showed that it was outdated to argue that women could
not be wives and mothers and be involved in politics.
Also it acted as stepping stones to gaining the vote in
national elections.
This was important because it provided some women
with financial independence. This, in itself demonstrates
a significant change in how women were viewed
because never before had they been viewed as fit to
control money.
Attitudes to women were changing and this helped women get the vote.
Attitudes to women’s role in education also
changed. For example, the Education Act
(1870) enabled women to stand for election
to school boards. Also, boys and girls were
entitled to basic education from 1870 and
some universities allowed female students.
For example, in 1879 women’s colleges
were being founded at Oxford University.
Positive changes were also taking place
in education. Women became employed
in jobs with more responsibility e.g.
clerical or typing.
This was important because stereotypical attitudes of
women being intellectually inferior were being
challenged. Indeed, it could not longer be argued
that because women lacked education, they were
not intelligent enough to vote.
This was important because it gave women a new sense
of responsibility and a desire to improve their
opportunities. It has also been argued that by giving
women better employment opportunities, a greater
desire for the vote was encouraged. Yet, it is important
to note that women were paid less than men and still
denied certain jobs e.g. medicine.
although attitudes to women were changing and making it harder to deny women the vote, it was very
slow and their political power remained limited. In 1914 there were 11,000 town councillors and only
24 were women. In light of this, it is unlikely that women would have been granted the vote in 1918
purely as a result of changing attitudes to women.
1. By 1918, how many women had volunteered to work during
2. The number of women who worked in munitions during WWI
3. The vote was granted in 1928 to women who….
4. One way in which WWI changed attitudes towards women
5. Who replaced Asquith as PM and why was this important?
6. Other countries such as ………………. And ……………………….. Had
already given women the vote. It can be argued that this
encouraged GB to give women the vote because….
7. The fact there was a coalition government during WWI was
important to women gaining the vote because….
8. WWI was not the main reason for women gaining the vote
because 1)………… and 2) ………………

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