Overview

The campaign for the right to vote

The background to the campaign to secure women's voting rights

Early suffragist campaigning

Millicent Fawcett. WOA reference collection

During the 19th century, suffragist groups organised peaceful, constitutional campaigns for the right to vote, including the lobbying of MPs

Petitions

The use of petitions was another tactic employed by the suffragists to demonstrate support for their cause

The Ladies' Gallery

Illustrated London News, 1879

Women had to watch Parliamentary proceedings from a separate gallery.

Start of the suffragette movement

Daily Graphic, 1907. WOA Reference Collection

It was decided by some women that deeds not words were needed and the suffragette movement began

'Deeds not words'

Daily Graphic, WOA Reference Collection

The Women's Social and Political Union used militant tactics to fight for the vote with dramatic and often violent results

Women's Freedom League

The Women's Freedom League was formed in 1907 following a break from WSPU

Male supporters of women's suffrage

WOA Reference Collection

Men played a crucial role in Parliament and outside

Anti-suffragists

WOA Reference Collection

Some people who didn't support women's votes reacted with an anti-suffragist campaign.

Suffrage in wartime

WOA Reference Collection

The outbreak of war in 1914 had a dramatic effect on women's lives and influenced the campaign for women's votes

Women get the vote

Find out when the suffragists goal was finally achieved after a long and often violent struggle

Women in the Commons

WOA Reference Collection

The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act of 1918 allowed women to stand as candidates and be elected as MPs

Women and the Lords

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/DC/CP/4/153

It was not until 1958 that women were finally allowed to sit in the Upper House

Also in this section

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

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