Women and their role in history has not always been as fully recorded as has men’s but it is of equal interest and throws up many interesting
connections that make us question our perceptions of women’s influence and role in social and political history.
- One area where we see at first hand women at the frontline of political history is the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
- Suffrage, the right to vote, had been campaigned for by both men and women across many parts of the world since the mid C19th.
It is a very important area of family history, consider the impact it would have had on the lives of all our female ancestors, it was a momentous time.
- Women’s suffrage gathered momentum when the women’s suffrage movement was pulled together under the banner ‘The National Union of Women’s Suffrage’, founded in 1897.
- It was led by Millicent Fawcett, who was an influential woman in British politics following her work throughout the Boer War.
- She believed in building the case of Women’s votes through political campaigning, petitions, meetings and using the press to gain support.
- Her natural leaning was towards a political reasoned solution but frustration at the lack of progress saw other more militant women create a new union
- ‘The Women’s Social and Political Union’ was founded in 1903 with Emmeline Pankhurst at it’s head.
- It’s approach to the problem was far more radical and militant.
Which path was right is debateable, Millicent Fawcett had already proven herself in the political arena and maybe diplomacy would have had a swifter outcome.
There are many excellent resources to explore women’s politics and issues:
The Women’s Library. Part of London Metropolitan University
Women’s Suffrage Collection.
Manchester Central Library