Ww1 and Female Suffrage: Help or Hindered?

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Submitted By HannahDougherty
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(b) Do you agree with the view that the First World War hindered rather than helped the case of female suffrage? [40 Marks]

In the sources presented, there are contrasting views as to whether the First World War helped or hindered the cause of female suffrage.
On the one hand, there were many people who argued that because women had worked so relentlessly during the war, it would be impossible to deny them the vote. This is argued in source 4 in which Asquith states it would be “impossible to withhold from women the power and the right of making their voices heard”, implying that women’s work and effort throughout the war should be recognised and their deeds should not simply be ‘swept under the table’, so to say. During the war some 4 million women were employed in jobs previously done by men, whether this is from munitions factories and land girls, to the extent of secretarial and administration work following the invention of the typewriter and telephone. What is unusual about source 4, is the individual this source has come from. Asquith was a Liberal MP most infamous in fact, for his anti-female enfranchisement views. Now, post war Asquith does change his mind on the issue and goes onto support female suffrage, however at this point he was still believed to be against the cause. Perhaps Asquith has given this speech with the intention of regaining support after losing the Prime Minister post to David Lloyd George in 1916 during the coalition government, therefore this source although somewhat accurate, provides less weight for the argument the war helped the cause of women’s suffrage.

However, source 6 challenges source 4 and presents the idea that in fact the war actually “obstructed votes for women” as according to this source it was seen that although women were taking over men’s previous jobs and even working within the armed forces themselves, they were…...

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