History GCSE / National 5: How suffragettes won women the vote and changed politics

Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney traces the history of the women’s movement in Britain and discovers how women won the vote.

Before the Representation of the People Act in 1918 no women could vote.

Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned to win the vote.

Emily Davison was a militant suffragette campaigner who went on hunger strike in Holloway Prison and later died after running out in front of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913.

Nancy Astor became Britain’s first woman Member of Parliament in 1919.

Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister in 1979, but today there are still far fewer women MPs compared to men.

MPs Yvette Cooper and Maria Miller explain why there should be more women in British politics.

Teacher Notes

  • Students could be asked to identify the main arguments used by the presenter to explain why women gained increasing representation on politics and in Parliament.
  • Students could be asked to recall and share the evidence with a partner.
  • Reference to previous learning might allow students to consider what other factors could be considered to explain the 'big picture' of developing representation.
  • This overview could be interrogated by students and they could create their own two-minute documentary to assess how far the Suffragettes changed politics.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, Eduqas, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

How women fought for access to birth control in Britain
How women have fought for equality in the workplace
How women have campaigned for social and sexual equality