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The campaign for the right to vote

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

Early suffragist campaigning

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


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

The Ladies' Gallery

Women had to watch Parliamentary proceedings from a separate gallery.

Start of the suffragette movement

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

'Deeds not words'

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 sympathisers

Men played a crucial role in Parliament and outside


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

Suffrage in wartime

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 House of Commons

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

Women and the House of Lords

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

Elizabeth Crawford

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

Also in this section

Key dates

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

Find out more