Women’s suffrage

The Suffragette was an educational movie that taught me many new things about the suffrage movement in England, and I liked it a lot. Personally, I didn’t know that much about women’s fight to vote in any other countries than Norway and USA, so I enjoyed learning about the Suffragette movement. What I learned form this movie is mainly that there was a name for the group of women fighting for their right to vote, and that Emily Davison jumped in front of a horse and died to put their case in the media and hopefully get more attention. I also learned that it took ten more years after the first women got to vote until all the women in England earned the same right.

There are many similarities in how the women fighting for a vote were treated by the people in society who were content with only men being able to vote. The people in both Norway, USA and England had similar reasoning as to why the country was better off when the men had all the power. One of the arguments used was that women didn’t know what was best for them because they were immature. Another argument was that women’s role in society was to just work in the house and take care of children anyway, so they didn’t need to vote because what went on in society didn’t concern them.

Earlier I mentioned Emily Davison who jumped in front of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby. Previous to her full-time work as a suffragette, Emily Davison worked as a teacher until 1909. Davison joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1906. This union was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst who held a big speech from a porch in the movie. Pankhurst encouraged Suffragettes to use “deeds, not words”, to get a vote. Emily Davison did many deeds, like frequently being arrested for public disturbance and burning post boxes. Jail was therefore a known place for her but being incarcerated did not stop her from her activism. Suffragettes that were arrested were not considered political prisoners, so Davison and many other women refused to eat while in prison to protest this. After many years of becoming increasingly militant, she did her final act who cost her life but earned worldwide attention to her cause.

The campaign for women’s suffrage in the US began even before the Civil War, but the first national suffrage organizations were not established until after the war. The two organizations, one lead by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and one lead by Lucy Stone, were established in 1869. 21 years later they merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Anthony was the leader of this association from 1892-1900 and was a very good speaker who was frequently lobbying. During the presidential election in 1872 she voted illegally and was arrested but refused to pay the ticket she was sentenced to pay. The case was dismissed, but the act sent a clear message of what her goal was,a nd what she was willing to do to achieve it. Anthony and NAWSA were essential in the fight for women’s suffrage in the US, and 15 years after Anthony’s death American women got to vote for the first time, in 1920.

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