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The Suffragettes were the frustrated members of the suffragists (NUWSS) they were angered by the slow pace of progress by the NUWSS and its forerunners. They used methods like bombings, vandalising commonplace with arson.

Opposition of the Suffrage Movement

The Women's Social and Political Union (also known as WSPU) was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia in 1903.

Who was the leader of the Suffragettes?

When a Suffragette was sent to prison, it was assumed that she would go on hunger strike as this gained maxium publicity. The Cat and Mouse Act allowed the Suffragettes to go on a hunger strike and let them get weaker and weaker. When the Suffragettes were very weak they were then released from prison. Those who were released were so weak that they could take no part in any violence. When they had regianed their strength, they were re-arrested and the whole process started again. Hunger strikers were force fed by prison doctors using steel mouth clamps and tubes. This was a painful and brutal process. Force feeding shocked the public and gained a lot of sympathy for the Suffragettes and their cause.

Cat and Mouse Act

Why were women treated this way?

Women were treated this way because their activism for women's rights, including the right to vote, was seen as a threat to the existing power structure. The people in power at that time were resistant to change and wanted to maintain the status quo. They believed that women should not have a voice in political matters. Women had to face such harsh treatment and discrimination, but their resilience and determination ultimately helped pave the way for progress and equality.

The scale of the campaign concerned those who didn't support women's votes, some of whom reacted with an anti-suffragist campaign.The image shows 'The Suffragette's Dream: Mrs Speaker', a satirical postcard of the time, mocking the prospect of women in Parliament.The National League for Opposing Woman SuffrageSome women actively campaigned against votes for women. These included the author Mary Ward (known as Mrs Humphrey Ward) who led the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League from 1908.This organisation merged with the Men's League for Opposing Women's Suffrage in 1910, to form the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. Among its Presidents was the politician Lord Curzon.In terms of effectiveness, the anti-suffrage campaign did have an impact on public opinion. They managed to sway some people who were unsure about women's suffrage. However, their efforts ultimately couldn't stop the momentum of the suffrage movement. Suffragettes and their supporters were able to counter these arguments and highlight the importance of gender equality and women's rights. In the end, women did secure the right to vote, and the suffrage movement made significant strides towards equality.

Anti-Suffrage campaigners

In 1905, two members of the SUffragetes, Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kennet, interrupted a meeting in Manchester to ask two politicians, Winston Churchill and Sir Edward Grey, if they believed women should have the right to vote. The two women then got out a banner that said "Votes for Women" and shouted at the two politicians to answer their questions. Pankhurst and Kenney were thrown out of the meeting and arrested for causing an obstruction and assaulting a police officer. In 1906, 39 women went to Downing Street and asked to see the prime Minister. After banging on the door and demanding to be let in, two of the women tried to rush inside, but were arrested. A third woman was arrested after jumpingon the Prime Minister's car and attempting to adress the crowd. In 1908, a protest rally was held in Hyde Park. Between 250000 and 500000 people attended. In 1909, Marion Wallace Dunlop was sentenced to prison for defacing a wall of St. Stephen's Chuch. She asked to be treated as a politicial prisoner. This request was denied so she bagan a hunger strike lasting 91 hours. She was then releasd from prison.

Actions of the Suffrage movement