Women’s Suffrage… background research

‘Votes for women was a major breakthrough which affected the lives of all women in Britain.’

-Votes for Women (book)

We can look at the suffrage movement and see it as something of the past that has nothing to do with us, but because of the movement women can now vote and become MPs and do many things they wouldn’t have been able to do over 100years ago..

In the 19th century women’s rights were a lot different to mens. The law was more in favour of men’s rights and women were treated as second class citizens compared to them. This included matters such as: working hours, reasons for divorce, child custody and wages. Despite laws passing improving the inequalities women faced, they were still unequal to men in 1903.

Women didn’t just get paid much less than men, but weren’t allowed to have careers as doctors or lawyers.

– All this shows how being able to vote was much more than the vote, but about women wanting to be treated as equals to men.


The Suffragettes

The coin I have chosen was defaced by members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), The Suffragettes, who formed the same year my chosen object was defaced. Their well known motto was: “Deeds, not words”, meaning, that unlike the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), The Suffragists, they believed if violent protest and breaking the law was what it took to gain the vote, that’s what they would do. Formed by the Pankhurst family, the WSPU used propaganda and protest to fight for women’s rights, frustrated by the slow progress they had seen.


  • ‘Votes For Women’ by Diane Atkinson (published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1988)



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