By J. Vellacott
This examine lines the resurgence of a conservative suffrage management, questions the inevitability of the slender franchise granted to ladies in 1918, and means that anything very important used to be misplaced, specifically to the Labour social gathering and to feminism, while a huge imaginative and prescient of democracy and patriotism turned a casualty of conflict, self-interest and jingoism.
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Additional info for Pacifists, Patriots and the Vote: The Erosion of Democratic Suffragism in Britain During the First World War
Women such as Marshall, Courtney, and Margaret Robertson Hills had worked hard before the war to overcome the hostility towards feminism among some trade unionists, and while their inﬂuence prevailed in the NU, the NU would continue to do what it could to integrate women into both trade unions and new jobs, trying to ensure them adequate training and good wages, which in turn, it was hoped, would help lessen the fear of dilution of the work force by large numbers of nonunionized unskilled women willing to work for low wages.
17 Although this can be stretched into lending a feminist theoretical ﬂavour to the WSPU’s attitude, the representation of Germany as the male bully and Belgium as the assaulted maiden was also much used by both government and press for pro-war propaganda. Throughout August, knowledge of distress and of national and personal need ﬂowed into the NU ofﬁce in a confused and seemingly endless stream. Several speciﬁc areas of concern were seen by government, public opinion, and even the women of the NU as suitable for the ministrations of women: for instance, the supply and conservation of food at a domestic level; care of the wounded and of children; social order (in particular, questions of alcohol consumption and of prostitution).
The LSWS, and in particular Ray Strachey, showed foresight in anticipating the areas of work that might open up to women, and the skills that would help them move into these areas. 52 Strachey would demonstrate a brilliant capacity for supplying women to serve the munitions trade, but would only occasionally pay more than lip service to their need for fair wages, and would show no skill – nor inclination – towards conciliating the trade unions who might have supported the women’s position. Mary Berenson wrote later that Fawcett and Ray Strachey had seen the future beneﬁt to women in doing war work, and also felt it 34 Paciﬁsts, Patriots and the Vote important not to undercut men and ‘lead to bitter sex antagonism, the very thing we want to travel away from’.