1910-1919

1910 to 1919 

Partial Victory and the First World War
"I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.“  - Dame Rebecca West​

Image taken from Mrs Pankhurst's Own Story at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34856/34856-h/34856-h.htm

By 1910 the tide had turned and women became united in their cause for the vote, violent clashes between the women's campaigners and the police became the norm. what would become to be known as Black Friday, occurred on 18th November when 300 Suffragettes who had marched to the Houses of Parliament in a demonstration of solidarity for the vote were kettled by the Police for 6 hours whilst receiving violent assaults by both the Metropolitan Police and male bystanders some of it sexual. It is believed that two women later died of their injuries although this is not confirmed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(1910) For more information

After this horrific incident, the Suffragettes rightly decided it was safer for all women involved to take the movement underground with cat & mouse strategies of direct action including smashing windows, messaging and "hateful haberdashery", which afforded them time to escape.

2013 saw a tragic but significant event was when Emily Wilding Davison A member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a dedicated Suffragette, who had been arrested nine times, went on hunger strike seven times and was force fed on forty-nine occasions, died after being hit by King George horse at the Derby after she walked onto the track with Suffragette colours in hand to either try and pin a suffragette ribbon on the kings horse or sacrifice herself for the cause. There is footage of the event and she can clearly be seen with a suffragette banner floating around her after the tragedy, she died of her injuries sustained and was afforded a full Suffragette funeral.


With the advent of the first world war in 1914 and in response to a government amnesty women suffrage mostly agreed to suspend their militant action on the assumption that a "new deal for women" post war would be realised.

"Our battles are practically over, we confidently believe. For the present at least our arms are grounded, for directly the threat of foreign war descended on our nation we declared a complete truce from militancy.  No future Government will repeat the mistakes and the brutality of the Asquith Ministry" 1914 Emily Pankhurst

During this time women participated in all aspects of the war from munitions factories to the implementation of women's sectors of all the armed forces and became an integral part of the war effort.

After the war in 1918 The Representation of the People Act was introduced giving the vote to male residents over 21 (also previously unrepresented) and women over 30 who were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, or a graduate voting in a University constituency. Although, not quite there, women's right to vote had begun and on 14 December 1918 they did.

The decade closed with The Sex Disqualification Removal Act being passed in December 1919 allowing women for the first time into the professions and the civil service and taking away the legality of disqualifying women on the basis of gender or marriage.

 

Ada Summers was sworn in a week later on 31st December 1919 as the first female Justice of the Peace.

1910-1919