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Columnists > If women have the vote now, it’s despite the Churches, not on account of them

07 February 2018 | by Melanie McDonagh

If women have the vote now, it’s despite the Churches, not on account of them

Melanie McDonagh's Notebook

 

The celebrations of the centenary of the passage of the bill allowing limited women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom demonstrated that, in history as in war, to the victor, the spoils. The arguments against extending the suffrage, which were genuinely lively a century ago, have been obliterated with extraordinary completeness.

We struggle now even to imagine why people could have been opposed to such an obvious good. But two admirable academic studies of the anti-suffrage movement – Brian Harrison’s Separate Spheres (1978) and Julia Bush’s Women against the Vote (2007) – make clear the extent of women’s opposition to female suffrage. It’s possible that the majority were opposed, at least before 1914.





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