The Journey To Equality (Women’s Rights) Essay, Research Paper
Intro: Battles for equality have been fought throughout history: between different races or religions, between the rich and the poor, between men and women, and countless others. However, the struggle for equality between men and women has been progressively fought and many changes were made accordingly that have shaped the society we live in today.
I. The Beginning
It is commonly accepted that the vote for women was won as a result of women s work during the 1914-1918 war. However, many events, such as militant campaigns and marches preceded this time period which deserve credit.
1. The Women s Social and Political Union (W.S.P.U.) was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia and was the first and largest militant suffrage group in England. This group s challenge on the Government lasted from 1903-1914.
A. Protests involved not only speeches and peaceful agitation but appalling physical hardship, brutality, beatings, forcible feeding.
B. Many events were recorded by the Suffragettes themselves in diaries, letters, memoirs, speeches, and in the national Press as well as in their own magazines, Votes for Women and The Suffragette.
Women made speeches, marched, and wrote letters to editors of newspapers and articles in their own newspapers and magazines. Many of these women were put in prison for their offenses.
1. At first, meetings were held that were basically educational. Members of the W.S.P.U. would travel to different cities in England to hold public meetings, which many women in the city were invited to, that were meant to urge women to support the cause and become active in campaigning.
III. National Influence
The W.S.P.U. had been in existence for two years before any opportunity was presented for work on a national scale.
1. The Parliament had been dominated by the Conservative Party for nearly twenty years, and England was on the eve of a general election in which the Liberals hoped to return to power. The Women obtained seats at the Free Trade Hall meeting in order to present their ideas to the Liberal Party.
2. After asking the one simple question of Will you give votes to women? the room was in an uproar and women were arrested and sent to prison.
IV. Protests and Prison Sentences
Being sent to prison became a familiar thing for the majority of the Suffragettes, and many protests followed by arrests were in the future.
1. Once women were in prison, they were faced with the challenge of demonstrating. One is put in prison so she can t be heard by the public.
A. Women began hunger strikes in order to upset government officials and prison staff. This method seemed to work.
2. After out of prison, or just while not currently being held, women resorted to militant protests. These were violent and often involved breaking windows and throwing rocks or whatever else at police officers trying to arrest them.
V. The Right to Vote
Finally on January 10, 1918, The House of Lords grated the vote to over eighteen million women. This decision represented the end of a long struggle.
Conclusion: Many rights and freedoms that we are privileged to have, we take for granted today. None of us could ever imagine not being able to vote, or being put in prison for writing a controversial article in a magazine. However, all of the freedoms we have, were gained by people who challenged the discrimination they faced long ago. Stories like these may be forgotten, but it is important that they be remembered so we do not forget how fortunate we are to live in a free country.