The Blurb On The Back:
While the First World War still raged on, another battle was finally seeing some results. In February 1918, British women over the age of 30 finally gained the right to vote in general elections. The hard-won victory was the result of a long struggle. This book takes up the story in the mid 19th century, when the first petition was presented to Parliament, and traces the fight for the vote through the work of suffrage organisations and the suffragettes. From peaceful demonstrations to violent campaigns and prison hunger strikes, the story is brought to life through fascinating historical photos and artefacts.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
2018 will mark the centenary of women in Britain first being granted the vote (albeit it was initially restricted to women aged over 30) and this book by Sarah Ridley for children aged 12+ is a timely and broad if also superficial account of the struggle by Suffragettes and Suffragists to gain it.
Ridley does well at setting out the background to the expansion of the vote in the United Kingdom during the 19th century, the growth of the women’s vote movement and the main people involved in it (the mini biographies of these main people was particularly interesting as I hadn’t realised that people like John Stuart Mill had played a role). I also enjoyed Ridley’s account of the rise of the Suffrage Societies, the illustrations of banners and materials created by the various grounds and the roles they played in World War I but there’s no analysis here of whether the Suffragettes were more important to winning the cause than Suffragists (or vice versa), which I think is a shame (although understandable given that this is more of an account of facts than an analysis of effects). There are some great nuggets of information in the book (including that the first woman to be voted in as an MP was Countess Markievicz but she never took up her seat as she stood for Sinn Fein – with Nancy Astor being the first woman who did take her seat) and I think that it really brings home to children how serious the struggle was and how women suffered to bring about what we now regard as a basic democratic right.
SUFFRAGETTES AND THE FIGHT FOR THE VOTE was released in the United Kingdom on 8th June 2017. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.