Although 100 years have passed since women gained the right to vote in the UK, there are still many misconceptions about the event. Here are EIGHT things you probably didn’t know about the vote!
Not all women were given the vote in 1918
Whilst many women did gain the right to vote, many more were still unable. The change in legislation only applied to homeowners over 30 meaning many working-class women were still excluded from the voting process. The ability for all women to vote only came into being in 1928, 10 years later.
Women could have been able to vote much earlier
In 1910 the Conciliation Bill was put to parliament which would have enabled women to vote eight years earlier. However, the prime minister of the time, Herbert Asquith, rejected the bill on the basis of there not being enough time left in the session. This lead to hundreds of suffragettes rallying to parliament in order to protest the decision.
Henry Selfridge was a supporter of the movement
Throughout his stores, Henry Gordon Selfridge, advertised publications made by the Women’s Social and Political Union and even flew their flag above his store. In one incident he refused to press charges on a women who broke a window in his store in an attempt to further support the movement.
Both men and women were part of the movement
Although many people remember the women who took part in this monumental movement, there were many significant men who took part as well. These included members of parliament such as Keir Hardie and George Lansbury. Lansbury in particular showed his dedication to the cause by resigning from his seat, fighting in a by-election and being imprisoned for making a speech at a rally.
The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was more popular than the Labour Party
Although Labour is a large political party, still popular today, during 1908 the annual income of the WSPU was £11,000 greater than that of the Labour party illustrating how popular the organisation was.
The suffragettes were trained in Jiu Jitsu
Many members of the suffragette movement were trained in Jiu Jitsu, especially those who were closely associated with it’s leading member such as the Pankhursts. This Jis Jitsu training was exhibited in many photographs reflecting the suffragette’s lack of fear in the face of violence.
The suffragette movement secured better rights for women and men
Before this massive act in 1918, not all men could vote in elections either. As becoming part of the law, the right to vote was extended to an extra over 5.6 million men who had previously been disenfranchised from the voting process.
Full suffrage for all women was passed 18 days too late
Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the movement, dies 18 days before the 1928 bill was passed which extended the right to vote to all women over 21-years of age. After dedicating her entire life to the cause Emmeline never got to see the Representation of the People Act put into place.
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