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duckweed

Women's Rights

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Apparently Sheffield Council doesn't know that Sheffield is where the national movement for women's rights started. They failed to respond to the governments letter asking places that were important to women's suffrage to apply for funding to place memorials and have events to celebrate their history. The money allocated was into several £ms, the largest grant allocated was around £1.2m. Sheffield won't be getting any funding despite the fact that without Sheffield there would be no celebration in first place. I've put together a blog to try and explain the history behind the historic moment.

https://sheffieldtimewalk.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/sheffield-the-road-to-womens-rights/

  

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Perhaps we might also at the same time remember men's rights? 1918 didn't just see the enfranchisement of women but also the enfranchisement of the over 5 million men who had previously been disenfranchised through a lack of property ownership . I am all in favour of commemorating female suffrage but , in this more enlightened age, (?) ought we not to be more even -handed in our commemorations and celebrate "Universal Suffrage" or should we delay celebrations for another 10 years?..After all, it was 1928 before all men, and women over 21 years old could vote ?

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I understand what you are saying but really if we were to celebrate total suffrage 1918 wouldn't be the date for anybody as only certain women got the vote in 1918, but the fact is it was the first time Women in the UK got the vote. Some men could vote already, no women could till then, so that is why the emphasis is on women. Also the women's national movement started in Sheffield, the men's move to national suffrage did not. 

There is so much that started in Sheffield and sparked the rest of the world such as the start of the TUC and so many inventions and innovations. My whole point is that Sheffield has an important part in history. Its not about Gender. Its about what happened here that influenced a nation. 

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As I said ,I have no problem with a memorial for female suffrage and Sheffield should declare its importance but  those millions of disenfranchised men have been completely forgotten in these events...and, forgive me,  that does make it about gender.

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I can quite see from where you are coming from and I know that the (partial) enfranchisement of women in 1918 is something like "hallowed" ground for many feminists. Indeed, these events are taught in our schools from an early age...but Male disenfranchisement is almost totally ignored and few know of the long and gruesome history of how men fought to gain the right to vote. In fact, Sheffielders were not behind the door in demanding this right. Similarly, few people seem to be aware that a majority of those men sent ,or volunteered ,to fight in such appalling conditions as the Western Front could not vote.

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On 1/24/2018 at 17:54, duckweed said:

Apparently Sheffield Council doesn't know that Sheffield is where the national movement for women's rights started. 

  

Maybe. I am not sure if Bus Conductresses got equal pay when they were first employed by the Transport Department in 1915. Though by 1966 the Council had a equal pay policy and they were  employed from the age of eighteen.  Mind you, when they were found to be pregnant it was instant dismissal. Things changed in the 80s, pregnant lady drivers could work as long as they wished. We even had a few over the years that needed help getting out of the cab.  Happy days.  W/E.

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I understand that women steel workers meant a huge increase of women being in a Union for first time. The Union argued that women who were doing identical work should be paid identical pay. I imagine from the men's point of view that they supported them to prevent men being undercut when they came back from the front. There seems a strong link between the women trade unions especially in the steelworks and shipyards and the Suffragists that would suggest it wasn't the Suffragettes that gained the vote for women but the quiet power of Suffragists and Trade Unions. The Suffragettes did not want women to do war work but the Suffragists were for it, and seemed to have negotiated a deal. I suspect that there is a lot more working class history to women getting the vote than the usual middle class Pankhurst history we get. It is significant that Adela who lived in Sheffield became a strong trade unionist supporter.  

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On 27/01/2018 at 15:28, lysander said:

I can quite see from where you are coming from and I know that the (partial) enfranchisement of women in 1918 is something like "hallowed" ground for many feminists. Indeed, these events are taught in our schools from an early age...but Male disenfranchisement is almost totally ignored and few know of the long and gruesome history of how men fought to gain the right to vote. In fact, Sheffielders were not behind the door in demanding this right. Similarly, few people seem to be aware that a majority of those men sent ,or volunteered ,to fight in such appalling conditions as the Western Front could not vote.

 My piece is linked to Chartism which represented everybody. However Male Chartists then dropped the idea that women should get the vote (except in Sheffield) It was the strong male support in Sheffield that helped the women continue. If it had not been for the women in Sheffield lobbying and pushing women probably would  still been waiting to get the vote. Their strong lobbying continuing through the women steelworkers got women the vote. There is a clear narrative. I do believe that the working class women trade unions helped push the barriers for all working class people to get the vote.    

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