Women’s Social and Political Union

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The members of the Women’s Social and Political Union are determined to obtain the right to vote for women by any means and after relentlessly campaigning to achieve this aim, we feel that the impact of peaceful methods seemed to have been exhausted and instead need a different, extensive approach. By enforcing militant action, the WSPU’s tactics had to transform into civil disobedience to show womens need for a political change. When the ‘rush’ on Parliament in October 1908 occured, the public was encouraged to join as thousands of women attempted to invade the House of Commons but were stopped by a line of police officers.

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Even after this event, the WSPU did not stop at women’s rights and continued to rally with hunger strikes that directed attention along with legal and constitutional support to the campaign for the enfranchisement of women. It is also important to note that the gain of women’s rights in Britain didn’t go from disenfranchisement to full freedom, instead, there were many bills taken to Parliament which allowed in many slight improvements before the 1918 declaration of suffrage for women. Then finally, the declaration of women’s full suffrage was in 1928.

As an actress, novelist, and playwright, I Elizabeth Robins am able to provide the women’s Suffragettes movement aid by writing plays and novels that revolve around the topic of winning females right to vote. If I focus on this concept for a few of my works, my fans will be influenced to support this movement in order to help women all over Great Britain. When I created the play Votes for Women in 1907- which was later transformed into the novel, The Convert, that same year- Elizabeth Robins symbolized what other women without my opportunity want to say by discussing the struggle of winning female emancipation and freedom from the chains that society has on all women no matter their differences.

The Suffragettes believe that by teaching young girls activities and things that most girls are never taught because society doesn’t think that they should, it will help gain more followers and preach the message of giving girls the same (or similar) chances as boys. By emphasizing more sports in girls lives beginning at a young age, the concept of equality between males and females will carry on for future generations to live with this belief. Additionally, young boys will also not make the same mistakes as their male ancestors and will instead be progressive and open minded. Some important activities to take into consideration are football, martial arts, basketball; also STEM subjects like encouraging different types of sciences and maths will impact young girls lives and assure them that they can do or play anything that they want to.

Since the WSPU demands a more militant campaigning and rallying method, attacking the root of this issue is where suffragettes and WSPU followers should begin. Continuing hunger strikes and also rallying against the House of Commons and Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith (H.H Asquith) who strongly opposed to women gaining the right to vote would show the Suffragettes determination to win this long lasting struggle. However, we need something big, something that can gain attention from all of England and let them feel the shock and pain that women feel everyday. The Suffragettes should hang a large banner on the Palace of Westminster in London stating our beliefs, thus distracting both citizens and some members of the House of Commons and Lords and allowing a large group of Suffragettes and followers of the WSPU to sneak in and directly address other members of Parliament. By bluntly approaching the House of Commons and the House of Lords to demand the enfranchisement of women, the Suffragettes with the WSPU are clearly representing our need for a change in the government of England concerning women’s rights. After experiencing the acts that the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Suffragettes have done like persuading young girls to do things that society doesn’t approve of, rallying and going on strikes hundreds of times, and personally confronting the House of Commons and Lords, Parliament will begin to contemplate women’s voting rights which will eventually lead into the suffrage of women.

Topic Two: Sexual Rights

During the 20th century, a women’s sexual preference would likely change the way their sex was understood. For example, a woman who was attracted to women would be seen as masculine. This system created the categorization of what was considered a healthy their sex, heterosexuality, or what was considered unhealthy, in this case, homosexuality. A woman who represented a healthy woman was also maternal lived a domestic life. This concept of healthy and unhealthy hurt the suffragettes’ campaign because we were considered unhealthy women leading to a loss of followers and the increase of anti-suffrage campaigns. The media and the public showed us as a group of masculine, unattractive, and messy women who were not able to provide children, therefore, supposedly making us useless to society. But shouldn’t a woman have freedom over when, with whom, and if she wants to bear children? The Suffragettes believe that in the journey to becoming progressive, allowing rights for the people that secretly manage our society today is what will provide a brighter and equal future. The WSPU recommends a different tactic like boycotting against dominate males in their lives; by refusing society’s wants, it shows that the Suffragettes will never stop fighting for women’s rights even with the world’s disapproval.

Additionally, we must take into consideration the idea of reproduction rights which is also an important topic when discussing sexual freedom. If a woman had no control over her body and what she wants to do with it, more horrific acts relating to sexual assault, rape, and other forms of discrimination will likely occur more often as a cause of others lacking the necessary respect for women in not only Great Britain, but everywhere. Women and girls around the world, especially those living in poverty, do not understand their face restricted or no access to information and services about their reproductive health and rights. Most of the issues about sexual and reproductive rights arise from old traditions. Although it has been decades since women’s rights began developing, improvement is considerably slow despite research proving that reproductive and sexual freedom enhances not only individual women, but communities and whole nations.

Establishing solutions such as abortion is one of the first steps in amending reproductive and sexual rights. Now although abortion has been improved and legalized in some countries, currently, only 37% of the world recently willingly allowed abortion- Great Britain with the ABortion Act of 1967- to any woman no matter her situation. By dealing with this issue, there are baby steps that need to be implanted to help future generation; for example, if children around the ages of 12 and up are educated more about reproductive rights, these rights will become stronger later on. Schools need to begin teaching young girls and boys about the freedom that women need over their bodies or else this matter will continue to stray on for much longer than it should and the lack of female rights will appear to be never ending.

Another way to amend the reproductive and sexual rights of women is by taking this topic more seriously in the legal sense. Meaning that stricter laws need to be placed that establish the consequences of sexual assault and rape, to add on to this point, police officers and lawyers also need to approach this issue differently by being more considerate of a woman’s experience in court instead of plainly accusing her of false allegations. By emphasizing the respect that people of power should have for women and the results of illegal acts like sexual assault, other citizens will be influenced into improving their perspective on these rights that allow freedom for women.

Topic Three: Nationalism

With years of peaceful protest, by 1914, many countries extended voting rights- even Australia- to women; however, Britain had still not granted these rights therefore making them look underdeveloped. Nevertheless, World War I had a major impact on the ongoing struggle of the enfranchisement of women. Many suffragettes gave up campaigning to support the war effort and instead decided to focus on supporting their powerful nation during the Great War. During this war, women began replacing men who were off on the battlefield in factory jobs and were proud that they had a role to play in this event. Now one may think that since women were of a great help when men were away and that people’s perspective on women would likely change when acknowledging their efforts, that is unfortunately incorrect. Instead, society continued to discriminate against women even with their hard work which set women suffrage organizations back to square one. However, the WSPU predicted that the prejudice against women would continue on, so they contemplated persistently revolting against Parliament regardless of the war going on around them.

The WSPU believes that adopting a nationalistic perspective would help change citizens of England’s opinions on them by conveying concern and passion for their country.

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