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Women's suffrage

Seminar Questions

  • How important were men to the women's suffrage (and anti-suffrage) movement?
  • Evaluate the feminist philosophy of the campaigners for female suffrage.
  • What does an analysis of women's suffrage banners tell you about the movement?
  • How significant was the anti-suffrage movement?
  • Did women achieving the vote change anything?


Key Reading

Julia Bush, 'British women's anti-suffagism and the Forward movement', Women's History Review, 11 (2002)

Myriam Boussahba-Bravard, Suffrage outside suffragism: Women's vote in Britain, 1880-1914 (e-book, 2007) Chapters by Thane

Jane Rendall, 'John Stuart Mill, Liberal Politics, and the Movements for Women's Suffrage, 1865-1873' in Vickery, Amanda (ed.), Women, Privilege and Power: British Politics, 1750 to the Present

Pat Thane, 'What difference did the vote make?', Historical Research, 76 (2003)

And Shall I have a Parliamentary Vote (NUWSS pamphlet)

The Women's Library collection of Suffrage Banners 

Modern Records Centre digitised resources on Politics 

See also Susie Steinbach, Women in England, 1760-1914, chapter 9

Further Reading

Julia Annas, 'Mill and the Subjection of Women', Philosophy (1977)

V. Bryson, Feminist Political Theory

Julia Bush, Women against the vote: female anti-suffragism in Britain (2007)

Barbara Caine, Victorian Feminists

Barbara Caine, 'J. S. Mill and the English Women's Movement', Historical Studies, 18 (1978)

Diana Coole, Women in Political Theory

Brian Harrison, Separate Spheres: The Opposition to Women's Suffrage in Britain

Ann Heilman, 'Words as Deeds: Debates and Narratives in Women's Suffrage', Women's History Review, (2002)

C. Hirshfield, 'Fractured Faith: Liberal Party Women and the Suffrage Issue in Britain, 1892-1914', Gender and History, 2 (1990)

Sandra Stanley Holton, 'In Sorrowful Wrath' in H. Smith (ed.), British Feminism in the Twentieth Century

Sandra Stanley Holton, Feminism and Democracy

Maroula Joannu and June Purvis (eds), The women's suffrage movement: new feminist perspectives

Angela John, 'The Privilege of Power: Suffrage Women and the Issue of Men's Support' in Amanda Vickery (ed.), Women, Privilege and Power

Angela John, (ed.), The Men's Share

Jon Lawrence, 'Contesting the Male Polity: The Suffragettes and the Politics of Disruption in Edwardian Britain' in Amanda Vickery (ed.), Women, Privilege and Power

Phillipa Levine, Victorian Feminism

Jill Liddington and Jill Norris, One Hand Tied Behind Us

Martin Pugh, Women and the Women's Movement in Britain

June Purvis and Sandra Stanley Holton, Votes for Women (2000)

Jane Rendall, 'Citizenship, Culture and Civilisation: The Languages of British Suffragists' in Nolan and Daley (eds), Suffrage and Beyond

Constance Rover, Women's Suffrage and Party Politics in Britain