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Why women wanted the vote
The suffragists
The suffragettes
The opposition
The First World War
Credit - Orkney Archive
The issue of votes for women in Scotland goes back to at least the early 19th century. However, it was only after the 2nd Reform Act (1868 in Scotland) that the movement here, as in the rest of Britain, began to grow.

At first the protest was peaceful - the women concentrating on petitions, letters and public speaking to make their voices heard. Sources A, B and C are examples of this.

There are three sources to study in this section.

Source 2A
Advert for a public meeting
Click to view Source 2A
Source 2A shows an advert for a public meeting held in Orkney in 1871.

The speaker had travelled from Galloway, at the other end of the country. This shows the effort and distance women were prepared to go to get their message across. The Orkney herald went on to produce a detailed full-page report on this meeting.

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

  1. Note down three peaceful methods of protest mentioned in the source.
Source 2B
Minutes of Kirkwall Town Council
Click to view Source 2B
Source 2B is from the minutes of Kirkwall Town Council in 1886. It shows discussion of a letter asking the Town Council at Kirkwall to show its support for a franchise bill in 1886.

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

  1. What did the writers of the letter want Kirkwall Town Council to do?

  2. How did Kirkwall Town Council respond to the letter?

  3. How useful is source B2 as evidence of the methods used by suffragists to get the vote in the late 19th century? Give reasons for your answer relating to the source of evidence.
Source 2C
Leaflet promoting a sale of work
Click to view Source 2C
Source 2C is a leaflet promoting a sale of work in London. It was produced by the Women's Freedom League in 1908 and shows how some women tried to peacefully campaign for the vote through sales of work.

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

  1. What two reasons does this source give for holding a sale of work?

  2. What donations are requested?

  3. Why do you think a "Holloway Cell" would be one of the attractions at the sale of work?
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