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Why women wanted the vote
The suffragists
The suffragettes
The opposition
The First World War
Credit - Glasgow City Archive
In 19th century Scotland women were expected to be wives and mothers and to remain at home. The status of women was, however, changing.

Improvements were being made to their legal status, and by 1900 many more women were receiving an education and entering the professions of medicine, the law and teaching. They were also allowed to vote in local council elections. Despite these changes, women were still unable to vote for MPs.

Women felt that if they gained the right to vote they would also be able to gain further benefits and advances to improve living and working conditions for women.

There are two sources in this section.

Source 1A
Suffragist election leaflet
Click to view Source 1A
Source 1A is a suffragist election leaflet published by the national suffragist organisation, the NUWSS, in 1905.

Click to enlarge the image, then answer the following questions.


  1. Find three reasons why working women wanted the vote.

  2. Why was this leaflet produced?

  3. Why are certain words highlighted and in large text?
Source 1B
Cartoon from 1902
Click to view Source 1B
Source 1B is a cartoon from 1902. It shows John Bull who represents the British state, asking women to help work for the happiness and education of the nation.

Click to enlarge the image, then answer the following questions.


  1. How does the cartoon show that women had very few rights?

  2. Which of the problems facing women does the cartoonist suggest is the most important? How does he emphasise this?

  3. What would the vote enable women to do, according to the cartoon?
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