Consequences and significance of women getting the vote

  • The Suffragettes' campaign might have won women the vote. Some historians believe that the real reason that the men in Parliament gave women the vote was because they were scared that the Suffragettes would restart their campaign of violent protest. MPs just used what women had done in the war as an excuse to do so. Saying that they were rewarding women for their effort in the war made politicians look good and fair, rewarding women for their work and gave women what they wanted.
  • Women became 'seen'. One of the problems with women in history is that so much of what they did is 'unseen'. This was not true of the Suffragettes, who brought women's rights to the public attention. For the first time, women had become prominent and noticeable in society. Whilst the Suffragettes sometimes got them noticed for the wrong reasons - such as violence and hunger strikes – they at least got them noticed.
  • The seeds of feminism. The Pankhursts provided a strong example of women fighting for women's rights. This has inspired feminists and women politicians ever since.
  • However, it can be argued that the suffrage movement still has a little way to go. There were only 17 women candidates at the 1918 General Election. Things had improved by 2010, but still only 143 of the 650 MPs were women and there were only four women among the 23 ministers in the Cabinet. The question now is about whether efforts should be made to help women become more represented in Parliament so that there is an equal share of male and female MPs. Accordingly, there is a progressing discussion about equal representation among female and male MPs. Parliament has set an aim to increase female MPs to 45% by 2030.
  • In popular culture, women are still fighting for their rights in certain areas. It was not until 2007 that female Wimbledon tennis champions were awarded the same prize money as male Wimbledon champions. Women still only play their matches out of three sets rather than the five that men play. Many feel that, since women get equal pay, they should play the same number of sets as men. Many women players feel that they should be given the chance to play as many sets too.