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Feminist Movement: The Suffragettes by Ariadna del Castillo EOI Igualada 2010/2011
The feminist movement refers to a set of political movements, cultural and economic factors that aimed at equal rights of women to men. The history of feminist movements is divided in three waves: <ul><ul><li>The first wave refers to the feminist movement (18th- early 20th centuries), which fights by the women votes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The second wave (1960s-1980s) is battle for social, cultural and gender equality. This is also called "Woman's Liberation Movement". </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The third wave (1990s-current), is a response to the failures of the previous wave and includes new campaigning's for women’s greater influence in politics. </li></ul></ul>
The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) The movement for women's vote started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women's Suffrage . She got in touch with the Labour Party but not all the Members of the Parliament gave their support to the initiative. Some of them believed that women couldn't understand how Parliament worked, so that they couldn't took part in the electoral process. Consequently the Women's Social and Political Union was founded the in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia. Their members were known as “suffragettes”. They were only women and weren't prepared to wait. Members of the Suffragettes were prepared to use violence to get what they wanted.
The suffragettes begun butting in to the political meetings and explaining their ideas but nobody listened to them. They decided to do other actions like attacking politicians and shouting when they were going to work. They also begun acts of vandalism such as break windows in Oxford Street, chain themselves to Buckingham Palace, bombing places and even one of them threw herself under the King's horse and died.
Some Suffragettes went to prison. While in prison they refused to eat and the government worried that one of them could die. To avoid the situation the government tried force feeding them and this caused a public outcry. They were liberated and when they were healthy, they were made return to prison to pay their fault. This policy was “The Cat and the Mouse Act”, and it made more difficult for the suffragettes to carry on their actions.
In 1914 started the First World War and the Suffragettes stopped their actions and the women gave their support to the war and helped working in factories, farms, coal mines...in wherever place they could be necessary. As a “reward” in 1918, the “Representation of People Act” was approved and giving women after 30, the right to vote. Not all women could vote, but it was the beginning.