What In Your View Was The Short Term Significance Of The 1918 Representation Of The People Act?

1851 words - 8 pages

The Representation of the People Act of 1918 is often seen to be the start of female suffrage in Great Britain. This bill was passed by the House of Commons with 385 votes for the act, challenged against by a small majority of only 55. This surprised the Suffragettes as well as a number of other suffragist movements greatly as they did not expect this much support from any form of government. The 1918 Representation of the People Act finally gave women the vote, however the women would only receive it if they owned their own property and were over the age of 30. Although not any women could vote as a result of this, it was a huge stepping stone in working their way to achieve equality.

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A year after the Sex Disqualification Act of 1919 Frost was appointed and held the position until the office was abolished in 1923, therefore managed to serve 3 years in this important position. The change in status of women from the Representation of the People Act is also shown through a cartoon published in the magazine Punch in 1918, this source is shown on the left. This source shows a figure seen to be representing women after conquering women's franchise, this is a very powerful source and clearly shows the change of women's rights by the body stance and the way the character is raising the flag labelled 'Women's franchise'. Also the fact that the women is wearing heavy armour and is carrying a heavy sword shows that women are stronger than ever. This source would have been created as a result of the Representation of the People Act as it shows the impact it had on their lives. The nature of this source is to show people how through the constant campaigning women have finally achieved equal franchise. The tall body stance and open body language is identifying women to be strong, victorious, and powerful, and the rock that the figure is standing on can be seen as the challenge they faced, therefore conquering the challenge and completing what they set out to do. This source was created by Bernard Partridge and was published by Punch magazine in January 1918, and this shows that it was written at the time in question giving it more reliability due to the fact that it would give realistic opinions and thoughts of civilians at the time. The purpose of this source is to inform readers of the progress of women with their battle of achieving equal rights and is showing how much they have changed and can do so much more now.

As well as the Representation of the People Act of 1918 bringing about a big change in the status of women at the time, it also brought a momentous change in the role of women and the different job opportunities that was available to them at the time. As previously mentioned women could now go in to civil service and legal profession, however a number of other job advancements also occurred. For example, women were now able to work in the munitions factories, as this is where they may have been working as part of the war effort when their sons, husbands, fathers etc were away fighting for the country. However, although women were now working in these factory's, men were still the preferred choice, this was shown through the Pre-War Trade Practises Act. This bill ensured it was illegal to employ women in any kind of engineering process, or allied trade, whether skilled or unskilled. "Just 2,000 had been employed in government dockyards, factories and arsenals in July 1914, but by November 1918, this figure had risen to 247,000. The number employed in the transport industry expanded by 555% to roughly 100,000." This quote shows exactly how much changed in industry to allow so many more women to work in the factories, dockyards...

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