Skip to main content

Distributed for University of London Press

The Politics of Women’s Suffrage

Local, National and International Dimensions

A history of the early twentieth-century movement for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. 
In the United Kingdom, the question of women’s suffrage represented the most substantial challenge to the constitution since 1832, seeking not only to expand but to redefine definitions of citizenship and power. At the same time, it was inseparable from other urgent contemporary political debates—the Irish question, the decline of the British Empire, the Great War, and the increasing demand for workers’ rights.  

This collection positions women’s suffrage as central to, rather than separate from, these broader political discussions, demonstrating how they intersected and were mutually constitutive. In particular, this collection pays close attention to the issues of class and Empire which shaped this era. It demonstrates how campaigns for women’s rights were consciously and unconsciously played out, impacting attitudes to motherhood, spurring the radical “birth-strike” movement, and burgeoning communist sympathies in working-class communities around Britain and beyond.

University of London Press image

View all books from University of London Press

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Women’s Movement, War, and the Vote: Some Reflections on 1918 and Its Aftermath
Susan Grayzel

Alexandra Hughes-Johnson and Lyndsey Jenkins

I. Working within existing political structures

1. “‘[T]he success of every great movement had been largely due to the free and continuous exercise of the right to petition’: Irish Suffrage Petitioners and Parliamentarians in the Nineteenth Century
Jennifer Redmond

2. Singing The Red Flag for suffrage: gender, class and feminism in the Canning Town Branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, 1906-7 Lyndsey Jenkins

3. Suffrage Organizers, Local Women and the Campaign in Wales
Beth Jenkins

4. A “practical” politics? Suffrage, Infant Welfare and Women’s Politics in Walsall, 1910-1939
Anna Muggeridge

5. “Keep Your Eyes On Us Because There Is No More Napping”: The Wartime Suffrage Campaign of the Suffragettes of the WSPU and the Independent WSPU
Alexandra Hughes-Johnson

II. Working through social and cultural structures

6. English Girls’ High Schools and Women’s Suffrage
Helen Sunderland

7. ’A mistake to raise any controversial question at the present time’: the careful relationship of Glasgow’s suffragists with the press 1902-1918 Sarah Pedersen
8. “The Weakest Link”: Suffrage writing, class interests and the isolated woman of leisure
Sos Eltis

9. Militancy in the Marital Sphere: the birth-strike as a militant suffrage tactic
Tania Shew

III. Navigating international structures

10. Suffrage internationalism in practice: Dora Montefiore and the story of Finnish women’s enfranchisement
Karen Hunt

11. “East Side Londoners”: Sylvia Pankhurst’s lecture tours of North America and the East London Federation of Suffragettes
Kate Connelly

12. Emotions and Empire in Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage Politics: Britain, Ireland and Australia in the Early Twentieth Century
Sharon Crozier-De Rosa

13. From Votes for Women to World Revolution: British and Irish Suffragettes and International Communism, 1917-1939
Maurice Casey

Afterword: A Tale of Two Centennials: Suffrage, Suffragettes and the Limits of Political Participation
Nicoletta F. Gullace

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press