Women's Failure to Gain the Vote Between 1900-1914
There are many reasons why women failed to gain the right to vote
between 1900 and 1914, these different reasons did not just appear
overnight some were had been institutionalised into the very core of
British society over a great length of time. The other reasons were
public responses to, the then, recent actions of the groups looking to
gain the vote for women.
For the purpose of this coursework I will separate these reasons into
three major factors that explain why women failed to gain the vote
between 1900 and 1914.
1. Long-term factors:
First I am going to study the long-term causes, as it is with these
that the climate of the situation at the time in question can be
viewed in its entirety. At the start of the 20th century Britain was a
patriarchal society, one dominated by males with women considered as
lower class citizens. Most women were seen as their husbands’ property
and were there to meet all their requirements, these requirements
included doing all domestic work, bringing up any children they may
have and being there to please them sexually.
Another long-term reason that caused those who wished to have the vote
for women an uphill struggle was the general consensus, in the
government, that women did not deserve the vote or in fact want the
vote. This particular view would prove to be a very stubborn obstacle
for those who would want the vote for women, as it was sexism at its
most institutionalised. Also there was no major request for change
within the country before 1900, the country was in a good period of
stability, the empire was at its strongest and Britain was one of the,
if not thee, most influential countries in the worlds markets.
The people who were demanding the vote for women were named the
suffragettes; this name came from the word suffrage, which means
having the right to vote. The Women’s Social and Political Union was
the major group of suffragettes, the Pankhurst family set this group.
The Pankhurst family set up the WSPU because they felt that the
suffragists (women who used peaceful methods to get their point
across) tactics had failed to gain any ground in the fight for a
During the early twentieth centaury, the social position of women was
very different. The role of a woman was very domestic. They were
expected simply to marry, bear children and look after the home. Women
were seen as unintelligent, indecisive, emotional creatures that could
not cope with politics. William Randall Cramer commented that if women
got the vote, they would become masculine and domineering and
consequently neglect their household and marital duties. There were
also those that thought that if women had the vote, they would stop
having children, and eventually the human race would die...