Women and the vote

Before 1918 no women were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. In the early 20th century there were two main groups active in the campaign for women's suffrage, a term used to describe the right to vote.

These two groups were the 'suffragists' who campaigned using peaceful methods such as lobbying, and the 'suffragettes' who were determined to win the right to vote for women by any means. Their militant campaigning sometimes included unlawful and violent acts which attracted much publicity.

Overview

From peaceful campaigning to militant tactics, the fight for women's voting rights lasted many years. Find out how their goals were achieved, with full equality with men being won in 1928

Key dates

Key dates

Follow the dates and legislation that mark milestones in women's struggle for the right to vote

Further your research

Further your research

Take your women's suffrage research further with additional material and parliamentary sources

Contemporary context

Contemporary context

Find out how women use their vote today and how times have changed since women first won the vote in 1918

Expert interviews

Expert interviews

A podcast of interviews with archivists, curators, police and MPs about the actions of suffragettes and suffragists in Parliament

From the Parliamentary Collections

Explore the Parliamentary collections for documents and images about Women and the Vote

Birmingham Case Study

Learn more about Birmingham's influence on and links with the women's suffrage movement, particularly the suffragettes.

Related information

Open Lecture

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of militant suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, Dr Mari Takayanagi gave a lecture on 'Parliament and Suffragettes' on 5 June 2013. The lecture transcript is now up.

Related information

Campaigning for the Vote

Watch and listen to a talk given in Parliament by suffrage historian Elizabeth Crawford on the women's suffrage organiser Kate Parry Frye

For schools

Learn how the suffragettes rushed the Palace of Westminster in 1908 via this interactive timeline.