New views of the women’ suffrage campaign: Liberal women and regional perspectives

Megan Smitley

in The Feminine Public Sphere

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780719079665
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703069 | DOI:
New views of the women’ suffrage campaign: Liberal women and regional perspectives

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This chapter gives an analysis of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Association for Women's Suffrage (GWSAWS) relationship with the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), which suggests a requirement to re-evaluate the supposedly superior democratic character of constitutional versus militant suffragism. The Scottish Women's Liberal Federation (SWLF) consistent support for women's equal enfranchisement demonstrates the requirement to broaden the understanding of suffragism to incorporate the efforts of organisations such as the SWLF and the British Women's Temperance Association Scottish Christian Union. The work of Liberal women—and female temperance reformers—for women's suffrage can be equivalent to that of organisations that are more often associated with suffragism, but equally the SWLF made a distinct contribution to the campaign. Finally, as women's organisations, the SWLF and GWSAWS were key sites of upper-middle-class women's participation in public life: these organisations aimed to encourage women's involvement in formal politics, while bringing their members into the public sphere of debate and reforming activities.

Keywords: suffrage campaign; Liberal women; regional perspective; women's organisations; formal politics

Chapter.  8579 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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