“Compare and contrast women’s suffrage movements of the late nineteenth and early centuries with the European feminist movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s.”
Whereas the women’s suffrage movements focused mainly on overturning legal obstacles to equality, the feminist movements successfully addressed a broad range of other feminist issues. The first dealt primarily with voting rights and the latter dealt with inequalities such as equal pay and reproductive rights. Both movements made vast gains to the social and legal status of women. One reached its goals while the other continues to fight for women’s rights.
I. Women’s suffrage movements
A. Main focus was in achieving the right of vote to women.
1. The suffragists believed that although a woman's place was in the home, she should be able to
influence laws which impacted that home.
2. Voting rights for women became an international law in 1948 when the UN (United Nations)
adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
B. Was sparked by Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
1. She is regarded as the “Grandmother of British Feminism” whose ideals helped shape the
thoughts of the suffragettes.
C. During the early 20th century, English women achieved civil equality.
1. More women went to work outside the home, women gained the right to sit in parliament, more
women started serving on school boards and local bodies, and more women began to become
2. Bills were passed which aided the women’s movement.
a. The Custody of Infants Act 1873 gave custody of children under 16 to women.
b. Married Women’s Property Rights Act of 1882 allowed married women to own and control
their own property.
c. Representation of the People Act 1918 gave women the right to vote if they were property
holders and older than 29.
d. The Sex Disqualification Act 1919 opened professions and the Civil Service to women.
e. Matrimonial Causes Act in 1923 gave women the right to the same grounds for divorce as men.
D. The Mud March on February 7, 1907 consisted of over 3,000 women who trudged through the cold
and muddy streets of London to advocate for women’s suffrage.
1. It was organized by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and led by
Phillipa Strachey, Millicent Fawcett, Lady Strachey, Lady Frances Balfour, and Keir Hardie.
2. A wide variety of women participated in the event. “… titled women, university women, artists,
members of women’s clubs, temperance advocates, and women textile workers gathered from all parts of the country."
3. This spectacle proved the dedication of the women for the cause to the many spectators lining
the route of the...