Features

Did most women want the vote?

10 May 2014

9:00 AM

10 May 2014

9:00 AM

One way or another, we’re going to be seeing quite a lot of Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan in ankle-length coats with pale faces this season. They’re in the film Suffragette, which has been shooting in the House of Commons in recent weeks.

The suffrage campaign was not only successful, it was successful to the extent that any other course now seems a bit preposterous. But what’s rarely mentioned is that the bulk of the resistance to it was from other women. It’s quite easy to visualise the suffrage campaign in terms of men vs women and that’s obviously the focus of the film. But the fact is, lots of women campaigned against being given the vote on the basis that it was unwomanly. Not contemptible or particularly downtrodden women either, but vigorous individuals at the forefront of other campaigns for improving the condition of women and higher education for girls — women like Mary Ward, a founder of Somerville College, and Marie Corelli, the novelist. Many of them were keen on female involvement in local government.

Votes
Marie Corelli and Mary Ward Photo: Getty

It’s quite possible, though impossible to prove, that the majority of women were actually against being granted the vote. Gladstone intimated as much in 1892 when he wrote that ‘there is on the part of large numbers of women who have considered the matter for themselves, the most positive objection and strong disapprobation. Is it not clear to every unbiased mind that before forcing on them what they conceive to be a fundamental change in their whole social function, that is to say in their Providential calling, at least it should be ascertained that the womanly mind of the country is… set upon securing it?’

Right up to the first world war, it’s perfectly likely that most women didn’t actually want the vote. There was similar anti-suffrage sentiment in the US.


There have been two very good studies of the subject — Brian Harrison’s Separate Spheres (1978) and Julia Bush’s Women Against the Vote (2007). Both do justice to the sincerity of the female anti-suffragists and the extent of their support.

One reason why we don’t know whether women wanted the vote was the reluctance of suffragettes to ask them. The anti-suffrage leagues were keen on a referendum to determine women’s views, though there wasn’t consensus about who should vote in it; in Asquith’s cabinet the notion was discussed around 1911. The referendum issue surfaced throughout the debates: the chief anti-suffrage league declared that an important reform shouldn’t be introduced without a mandate.

In 1917 Mary Ward suggested radical local government reform which would supply ‘a large body of women electors from whom a referendum on the subject of the Parliamentary suffrage could be taken’. The suggestion wasn’t taken up lest, presumably, it come up with the wrong answer.

But what we do know is that women constituted the majority of the anti-suffrage movement, at least the rank and file. They made up more than two thirds of the subscribers to the anti-suffragist central office and five out of six subscribers at branch level. They made up, and collected, the half-million signatures against votes for women just before the first world war. This was grassroots stuff.

Obviously the question for us is why women would set themselves against their own interests… at least, as we’d see it. As the first big petition by women against the suffrage put it in 1889, ‘We protest against [women’s] admission to direct power in that State which rests upon force — the State in its administrative, military and financial aspects.’ In other words, women should be involved in politics relating to their own experience.

Some distrusted and disliked party politics; some felt that women would end up being manipulated by male politicians; others that women were so bound up with their real and fundamental work in the family that they didn’t have the expertise to vote properly on imperial matters; many felt that women had their proper and vital areas of expertise in the domestic sphere from which party politics would be a damaging distraction.

Others thought the vote was the thin end of the wedge undermining marriage and family. Lots were imperialists — and as a male anti-suffragist observed, what would India make of a Britain partly governed by women? But what you find, too, was a discernible resentment among some women at being bossed around by middle-class militant suffragettes. One polemicist who described herself simply as ‘a working woman’ wrote in 1910 about ‘these dangerous women, the unemployed rich, who by example and preaching are teaching their humbler sisters that housework is despicable… between us and them, there is a great gulf fixed… by poverty… As they stand in our doorways with their pretty skirts gathered round them, are they not shrinking from the unsavouriness within?’ If you can imagine the suffragettes of a century ago less as the agreeable Pankhurst and more as the Edwardian equivalent of Harriet Harman, you can get her drift.

History is never kind to the losers, but it would be wrong if the commemorations simply obliterated the ones in this fight — the silent, or at least less vocal, majority. The antis’ fight against the vote puts contemporary angst about getting equal numbers of men and women into frontline politics and boardrooms into perspective. A century ago women would simply have said they had other, better things to do. And perhaps they did.

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Show comments
  • cartimandua

    “Providential calling” my aunt Sally. Women could not long before they got the vote be abused at will, confined to a mental institution by their husbands, lose their children if they left an abuser etc etc.
    That a few spoiled or fearful women cared little for less fortunate women doesn’t mean they “had a point”.

    • Terry Field

      YOu conflate unrelated things; an emotional rant. Very female.

      • cartimandua

        Getting the vote was an important step in keeping women alive and out of poverty.

        • Terry Field

          You assert something that is usually accepted without question. You accept it without question, although you are in no position to know.
          I reject the assertion as untrue, an invented association of events, completely false causation. In other words, an invented outcome.

          • cartimandua

            Oh puleaze
            It wasn’t just women denied the vote for a long time.
            You must think universal suffrage for men didn’t matter either.

          • Terry Field

            I presume your little mind has blown a fuse; don’t do other ideas do you?!
            SInce you ask, I think universal suffrage with the only qualification being age is a disaster and has brought great ills in its wake. Aristotle thought so two and a half thousand years ago and he was spot on.

          • cartimandua

            My “little mind”? I’d back my IQ over yours sonny any day.
            But who do you think “should vote”? Clever people or the wealthy or just white middle aged Anglo-Saxon men?

          • Terry Field

            Thank you, little fly, for flying into the fly-trap. You are SO easy to tease out. As for IQ<,I now mine, and i am happy to trade yours in public – what is yours? – you raised the subject, therefore you publish yours, and I will publish mine.
            "who do yo think should vote?"
            A silly question, since once the universal age-only threshold is rejected, every man and his dog has a view. Ladies also have a view. They should rank with the men in significance, do you not think?
            Access to the ballot box should relate to the attributes of a stable society of productive effort and intellect must matter here.
            A proxy for intellect could be educational attainment – a level that can be met at any point in a person's life.
            Asset ownership should matter – you may disagree, that is fine.
            Age should be less of a barrier – a very clever fifteen year old who is demonstrably achieving and socially responsible (appropriate tests can be devised) trumps a cretinous idle unproductive thirty-year old any day of the week.
            Quality should be a major criteria, and I do not care if there may be some arbitrary aspect of the sieve applied; any such franchise would be better than the farce we currently experience.
            Feel free to respond with the predictable outrage and sneering arrogance of the left. I would be disappointed if you do better.

          • cartimandua

            Well there is your ignorance Terry. The human brain doesn’t fully mature until the early 20s. The executive functions (judgement) are not online at 15. That is why the young are such high risk takers.
            It might be “possible” to require basic literacy for anyone voting. That I can see the point of and no “postals” either.
            Who knows who votes then.

          • Terry Field

            Oh dear, here we go. Nit-picking. The ‘exective’ functions are part of the mix, smarypants. You fail to reply except by unconscious repetition of socially acceptable garbage.
            THINK, IDIOT – go on, give it a try, you know you wanted to all your life so try it out! Scare yourself by tossing a real thought around the empty box between the ears.
            Insults are easy – I can out-do you anytime – why not stop hiding behind them.
            No IQ stated I see!
            I guess yours at about 115 or so.

          • cartimandua

            Mine is upwards of 140 verbally upwards of 150. My Dads was off the planet above 160 and my kids are around 140 (all tested for schooling reasons).
            It is pointless having you “top it”. Neither of us could prove it. (and I am not going to discuss my professional qualifications either).

            Executive functions are how people make judgements.

            Here, let me enlighten your ignorance

            http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051

            “It doesn’t matter how smart your teen is or how well he or she scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something he or she can excel in, at least not yet.

            The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until he or she is 25 years old or so.

            In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part, but teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part. And it’s the prefrontal cortex that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences.

            The connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are in development in teen brains. That’s why when they’ve been under the influence of overwhelming emotional input, teens can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.”
            So no young people are just not capable of mature judgment which is why they get sucked into joining in wars.
            Perhaps we should keep the vote for literate over 25s.

          • Terry Field

            I do regret, for your happiness, that mine is a touch higher than yours as declared.
            Who cares; it is Sunday, and the fruitcakes are well and truly on display.
            I would go for anything that selected desirable attributes as a qualification to vote. The present nonsense is – literally – killing the planet, and all life living upon it. It could not be worse.

          • cartimandua

            I am not at all sure that one could say that “voting” is ruining the planet.
            Male entitlement is “dear” it leads to overpopulation, war pestilence, and famine.
            And no I am not buying that you have a higher IQ merely on your say so.
            At a certain level in any case male high IQ strays into something on the autistic spectrum. ( Prof Baron Cohen) that impairs its usefulness.
            That is why IQ is only linked with high income “up to a point”.

          • Terry Field

            I meant in the Aristotelian sense that the mass prole vote brings degenerate politicos who provide the hordes who do no real work with wonderful bribes in exchange for votes – and the bribes for 9,000,000,000 are wrecking the planet.

          • cartimandua

            Its Danegeld. Otherwise the richer people would be on those tumbrils heading for the chop. Its probably “worth it”. Places with less effective welfare systems are very violent and richer people live behind giant barbed wire fences.

          • Gregory Mason

            ‘People who boast about their IQ are losers’

            – Stephen Hawking

          • Terry Field

            Yours is clearly in decline, and constrained by emotional instability. Mine, last measured, was between 150 and 160. I must be your dad – you like false correlations don’t you!

          • rtj1211

            I do hope your children died in Iraq.

            Nothing less than that will convince me that all the Conservatives, Labourites and American cocksuckers, most of whom have large amounts of assets and many of whom have pseudo-intellectual degrees had the best interests of anyone but JP Morgan et al at heart when murdering 100,000+ people on a false prospectus both in the UK (Blair’s bullshit about WMD) and the USA (Saddam Hussein was linked to Usama bin Laden), wasting billions to trillions of taxpayer dollars on the exercise and earning ACLB £50m in dirty money kickbacks in subsequent years.

            For that reason and that reason alone, your idea is so pathetically wrong headed as to badge you as of judgement so defective that your right to suffrage should be withdrawn with immediate effect.

            This does not make me left wing, it makes me a human being who demands that the so-called superior intellects sacrifice their own children rather than the poor when going to war on false prospectuses.

            Lest you wonder I am MA (Cantab), PhD (Glasguensis), MBA (Manchester) and my GMAT score in 1997 was 750/800, a score which would eliminate 99%+ of the population were it insufficient to pass your ‘intelligence test’……

          • Terry Field

            You prove that raw intelligence combined with brutish prejudice is of no value at all.
            Not the best colleges, but okayish – MBA is a bit work-a-day these days. And the GMAT is very easy to coach, as you well know.
            I taught greasy grinds like you; so serious, some quite limited, some really in need of ‘recognition’. Sad folk from what I recall. You seem a sad sort.
            A strange, strangulated thought tunnel – what has Saddam to do with the subject in hand? Nothing. The rant against the USA – a student level joke.]YOu are not a serious person. You are a fool. Many mediocrities crawl through the years at ‘universities’ (which most are not). Big deal.
            Your very male ‘I’ve got such BIG BALLS’ is a real joke. Ha bloody ha.

          • Gregory Mason

            WAYCIST!

          • rtj1211

            No doubt you would assign votes to murderers, imperialists and slave owners, not to mention asset stripping capitalists whose greatest joy is impoverishing decent, hard-working honest people??

          • Terry Field

            No, your contempt for any alternative to this worst-of-all-possible democratic systems, (not mine but those of Aristotle), no doubt rooted, fundamentally, in either lack of insight, and or, being a recipient of pork barrel politics leaves little room for conversation. You are unworthy.

          • Gregory Mason

            Perhaps property of a certain worth should be a requirement to vote. It does mean that I as a lowly student wouldn’t get it but it’s a sacrifice I’d be willing to make if it meant that we had consistently competent government.

          • Terry Field

            Here is the difficulty; it was easy to keep reducing the constraints to franchise as education, skills and universal work spread across the land. That is in reverse and will continue on its remorseless journey. Education will be available to the majority until it is found to be pointless; that could be a primary qualification, but other items in the mix would be fought over for ever; that is why the dictators appeared – the democratic process failed, and there was no chance of a settled agreement on how to achieve wise government. The intellectual classes – the ‘teenage scribblers’, as a Chancellor called them, consistently poisoned any chance of a settled view emerging. Hitler said, as a frustrated response ‘ when I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun’. ‘Culture’ was a shorthand for universal disagreement and posturing; sounds familiar?
            The brutal removal of residual freedom comes when the centre cannot hold and every man’s view prevails.
            How far away from that are we?
            I do not know. But we are much closer than we were when Parliament ruled, and the great institutions of state were founded on popular understanding, responsiveness and togetherness.
            The loss of the monoculture may also make stability harder to retain.
            You should be enfranchised simply because, whatever your other personal merits, you clearly consider matters; unlike most of the sheep.

    • Terry Field

      Oh stop this guff. Women are vastly more abused by the commercial horror that absolutely requires, and insists upon ‘equality’ in order to sell all the garbage including divorce, lawyers, multiple house moves, access rights, total work state conditions, unending competition for ‘advantage’ and all the rest of the poison that has stripped so many women of the chance of a settled and even half-way natural life. You sound like a ridiculous political poster.
      As many little unit drones as possible is needed for the economic maw to be satisifed.
      Women are muts to not understand their real condition of slavery. As are most men also.

      • cartimandua

        No they are not “more abused by the commercial horror”. Where there has been no feminism women are not kept alive to this day.
        The West is not missing women at a population level but the male dominated societies are.
        You must really admire Pakistan Iraq etc.
        It was 100 million missing in 1990. I imagine its must worse now.

        • Terry Field

          Rubbish. Most settled societies do not offer the range of commercial possibilities that the west offers, but in compensation, the life of a woman there is more constructed to meet her natural needs. I am more than happy to agree that male behaviour is and has been dreadful to women. The pressure to liberate women from male control and brutal behaviour has been heroic and natural; the standardised pressures and ‘opportunites’ available now in the ‘west’ to both men and women is, I consider, an error. You will not agree.
          Nothing more to say than that; goodbye.

          • cartimandua

            Yoy really have no answer then have you? Where there has been no feminism or female suffrage women have not been kept alive and are missing at population level.
            Women don’t have “natural needs” any more than men do what utter patronizing cobblers. Men have “natural needs” for emotional lives which work now makes almost impossible.
            Left to nature men die in conflicts so what are you on about.

          • Terry Field

            You are SUCH a fool; there are NO answers! there are only different opinions, views, whatever. The first sentence presumably refers to aborting female foetus and girl killing. I believe that comes under the point I made concerning male brutality. Read, you idiot.
            There are many traditional societies where women do well; Iran comes to mind.
            Of COURSE the different sexes have different needs, drives, innate differences. Only modern mortgaged, latte swilling morons buy the lie of wonderful sameness. It is garbage; as are your infantile prejudices.
            Males have fought to establish boundaries, to steal assets, to protect their genetic line. Natural, normal, eternal.
            Go and crawl back under you rock, fool.

          • cartimandua

            Iran? You think women are doing well in Iran???

            That is really really odd.

            http://www.wikigender.org/index.php/Gender_Equality_in_Iran

            “Rape is not recognised as a distinct offence under the Iranian penal code, but rather falls under the penal code’s definition of adultery, as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman ‘forbidden to each other’.[51] The law does not recognise the concept of spousal rape.[52] Amnesty International reports that some of those arrested following the demonstrations in 2009 – women and men – were raped and subjected to other forms of sexual assault while in detention.[53] Sexual harassment is illegal under the penal code.[54]

            According to a 2010 report published by Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), ‘honour’-related violence is also pervasive in Iran.[55] This often takes the form of forced self-immolation, whereby women are forced by other family members to set themselves ablaze, and the death is then passed off as suicide.[56] Both men and women convicted of adultery can be sentenced to death by stoning.[57] In practice, convictions are rare, but women are disproportionately affected.[58] Iran is a source, transit and destination country for women, men and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour, but according to a 2003 UN report, the issue is an ‘invisible problem’.[59] The CIA World Factobook reports that the government has done little to address the issue, and that some aspects of Iranian law and policy hinder efforts to do so (e.g. punishment of victims, and legal obstacles to punishing offenders).[60]

            And no missing women is not just about sex selecting its about treating women badly at every stage of life.

          • Ameer

            Most of the things mentioned there are not tolerated in the country and would be punished by the justice system, such as rape of male and female prisoners (now don’t be calling iran homophobic here for persecuting gay prison guard rapists). Harsh as the punishment of stoning is, its a human issue since the punishment applies to both sexes, don’t make it a female only concern. The conditions for proving it are the same for both sexes (four witnesses seeing penetration, voluntary confession) and the punishment has hardly (if ever) been enforced (some vigilante tribal idiots but that’s mostly it).

            Now as for how women are doing well in Iran, its basically a traditional society but it has women working in all sectors of society. 60% of university students are women, there are female politicians (one was a health minister) and theyre all given protection against domestic abuse by the courts.

          • cartimandua

            Oh for goodness sake women maybe doing well in Iran compared to Sudan but that is not saying much.

            In Iran women have been banned from some University courses and some Universities.

            What you mean by “traditional” is a society which is a rotten failure because they treat women worse than goats.

            That’s why Iran has the worlds biggest brain drain. Anyone who can get out does.

            Its gender apartheid which sinks countries nothing else.

            http://www.clarionproject.org/

            “Last Wednesday, the streets of Tehran streets were jammed with elements of the Iranian regime demanding that the authorities crack down on Western-style dress. Placards were waved carrying slogans stating: “Man, where is your honor, where is your wife’s hijab

            HijabGlossary Item

            Veil often worn by Muslim women that covers the scalp but leaves the face exposed in compliance with an interpretation of an Islamic command to dress “modestly.”

            ?”

            Hard-liners, disagreeing with the new so-called “moderate” president’s reformist beliefs, are pushing for the imposition of the mullahs’ version of the Islamic dress code for women. Yet, let’s not forget that President Rouhani himself boasted in his autobiography that he was among the first post-revolutionary Iranian officials to push for the imposition of an Islamic dress code for women, making him no different than the rest of those ruling the country.

            The idea that today in Iran women are supported by the moderates and the moderates are also targeted for wanting a bit more freedom for women is a joke. Iranian women are the ones who have always been in the forefront of protests to gain their rights and to find a way to break barriers hindering them from living freely.

  • Druth

    A brave post. Should help with the deconstruction of feminism.

    • cartimandua

      Its a daft post

      • Druth

        A couple of issues which are also subjected to revisionism are:

        After the industrial revolution it was the churches/unions which fought long battle for the right for women not to work.

        Later when women did start to return to work it was the labour/unions which fought for women to have lower pay rates.

        Now-a-days progressive like to blame the consequences of both these hard fought social improvements on a conspiracy of men against women.

      • Terry Field

        I bet you are a party pooper, old dog.

  • Terry Field

    Of course they don’t want the vote; the issues are too complex and confusing. causes them to frown and muzz up their hair.
    Stops them concentrating on preparing the lunch for their husband after his taxing morning doing really important stuff.

    • Yorkieeye

      Never mind dear, she might come back one day.

      • Terry Field

        She is yet at my side; a fine support, a good cook, an excellent companion, and purchased for a reasonable price.

        • Yorkieeye

          From a lunatic asylum I assume

          • Terry Field

            NO – the poor house, idiot!
            I know value when I see it.

  • Jonathan Burns

    While I agree women should have the vote, it does show changes often get forced through by a very vocal minority.
    Take women in combat roles, it is being forced through by a feminist minority and their male poodles. Go back over 20 years ago when women were first allowed to serve on warships, we were lead to believe most Wrens wanted this, yet when given the choice two thirds of them chose to stay on dry land. Now they don’t have a choice.

    • cartimandua

      No its because they cannot get the men. Since women have already been frontline as medics in intel and in bomb disposal there is no reason why not.
      They cannot recruit men that is why.

      • Terry Field

        In military tests, the front line women were all dead within five minutes. The commander said no woman could begin to match the purposeful ferocity of male soldiers primed to kill and trained to do so.Maybe we should therefor encourage all these pain – in the -bum feminist types to join the specialist new regiments – they need a fancy name – maybe the ‘fighting boob-tubes’!

        • cartimandua

          I think my 16 year old daughter could kick your butt . She is nearly black belt in kickboxing and at a national team standard.
          They cannot get men fit enough or purposeful enough which is why they are doing it.
          They basically wait until the job is really cr** and then let girls have a turn.
          We don’t want “hand to hand fighting” anyway that just leads to our people killed to save the lives of the ungrateful.
          Anyone can “do technology”. They only have to practice on video games.
          Men who have actually fought along side women have never doubted them at all (ask the Americans(.

          • Terry Field

            She would last 30 seconds against the Russian special forces and the like. Fool

          • cartimandua

            The British Army is recruiting women because there are not enough British men wanting the job and fit for it.
            Are you a failed recruit and you blame your failure on women?

          • Terry Field

            I assure you the Spetnaz would run a mile if they had to face me!
            I would offer them tea and cakes and that would be the end of them!!
            Me, I’m all male.
            A hunk.

      • Terry Field

        Medics! – haha – they mean hand to hand with bayonets, knives, pistols and rifles; machine-guns and grenades, mortars and RPGs- you idiot.

    • StephanieJCW

      Why should women who wish to fight be denied that right?

      Likewise, so what if the vote was “forced” through by a vocal minority. Why should the tyranny of the majority restrict women’s ability to vote? Those women who didn’t want the right, didn’t have to have it. Why prevent others?

      • Gregory Mason

        What are these “rights” you keep referring to? There are no universal rights. Rights are the agreed limits of behaviour that you agree upon with other members of your society. To say they have a “right” to it means absolutely nothing.

        • StephanieJCW

          The right I am (obviously) referring to is the right to vote and fight in the army. You know. As I explicitly stated.

          Specifically the nonsense argument that women should be denied the ability to have involvement in decisions that influence their lives because not all women wanted that ability. Women who don’t wish to vote are free to exercise their right not to.

          I have no idea why you bothered to respond to me as you clearly could not be bothered to read what I had written. I made no mention of universal rights but it is quite clear what a “right” means in the context in which I used it and in which it is often used.

          • Gregory Mason

            Voting isn’t a “right” and neither is fighting an enemy of the state. One is a privilege which has been granted to everyone over 18 and the other is a civic duty which the state has restrained to a small number. You have no “right” to do either.

            It is mostly used incorrectly and your use of it is no exception from that general rule.

            If any “right” can be taken from you then it’s not a right and it can be removed at any given moment by the state. What ‘right’ to life and a ‘right’ to breath has a man who is drowning in the Atlantic? Nonsense. A right must be worked for not given for anything that is not earnt has no value.

  • rob232

    That many women were against the suffragette movement is not really surprising. People are naturally conservative and very suspicious of change. People living under dictatorships will often oppose democratic movements. Remember the opposition of the downtrodden workers to the very people fighting for their interests in ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressel. How many people nowadays oppose government by referenda? Beacons of popular rights such as Snowden or Assange are frequently disparaged by many. People naturally trust their leaders and institutions and progressive change often takes place very slowly and in spite of them.

    • cartimandua

      Many slaves didn’t want “freedom ” either it seemed less secure.
      S and A though are just enabling all the worst regimes on the planet by undermining the West.

      • rob232

        Yes I thought I may be pushing my luck mentioning those two in the Spectator. However I do believe that there is a rght way forward and it isn’t always an easy path. People can present soumd arguments to defend abuse of human rights be it Guantanmo Bay, apartheid, women’s votes, child labour or even spying on innocent people but most people know when they are being unjust.

        • cartimandua

          But they are enabling some of the nastiest regimes on the planet “Eddie” is hanging out with one right now.

          • rob232

            That isn’t exactly true. But once again you have sound reasons to condemn these whistleblowers, the people trying to protect your rights.

          • cartimandua

            Of course its true. Let them “expose” Russia China and Iran.

          • rob232

            Why? You already knew that these were the bad guys. What you didn’t know is that the people who work for you are bad guys too. That’s why the whistlebloweres are important.

          • cartimandua

            Only if they have somewhere to go within the organization to raise concerns.
            All Eddie and A did is disadvantage the West. They made war more likely.

  • rtj1211

    If individual women don’t wish to vote, that is their prerogative under universal suffrage.

    For others to state that they are not suitable voters, then I would suggest that are in need of changing their views……

  • cartimandua

    Its not “feminism” pushing through women in the Army. They just cannot recruit enough guys because the guys are not fit enough or they reckon its a mugs game.
    Perhaps if they hadn’t sent men to kill and then complained when they did kill recruitment would be more enthusiastic.

  • hairybuddha

    By advancing an opinion and expecting it to count the anti-suffragists had surely conceded the argument?

  • commenteer

    One sees much the same force of reaction in intelligent Muslim women who choose to keep themselves enslaved behind the veil.

  • Prentice Reid

    Melanie McDonagh thank you for this very informative article. I’ve been looking into this subject intently as of late and those two books you are two I will be picking up as soon as possible after I finish the one I’m currently reading. This is fascinating subject-matter and very controversial to talk about but don’t let the other comments discourage you. This is courageous journalism, journalism with a backbone, and the type we need to see more often.

  • StephanieJCW

    I am not sure it really matters. I don’t think you have the right to repress the civil rights of others because you have no interest in partaking in that civic responsibility.

    Women who did not want the vote were free not to vote (as they are now) after all.

  • StephanieJCW

    “A century ago women would simply have said they had other, better things to do. And perhaps they did.”

    Oh yes, cooking, cleaning and childcare.

    It’s amazing how we only ever make this suggestion of women. We never suggest that a man who chose to be home focused instead of career/work/focused didn’t have the right priorities.

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