Date of Award

1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

History

First Advisor

Ritschel, Daniel,

Keywords

History, European.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Despite ideological and class differences, the suffrage campaign provided a focal point for the British feminist movement. However, after women's partial enfranchisement in 1918 and their increased involvement in national politics, the women's movement as a whole experienced a decline. While this decline was precipitated by several important factors, including male political indifference and the growing interwar "cult of domesticity," most importantly, at least to this paper, was the reemergence of ideological divisions which the suffrage campaign had only temporarily and partially concealed. During the 1920s, discussions over policy and preferred strategies for change polarized social reform and equalitarian feminists while the demands of mainstream party politics added yet another divisive element. Although feminist activists disagreed on several key issues, the debate over sex-based protective legislation effectively illustrates these fundamental ideological divisions. The resulting "pamphlet war" between feminist factions provides ample documentation of this debate. Historians agree that ideological divisions within the women's movement precipitated its post-suffrage decline. However, they assume that these differences could have been overcome had women reached some form of political or strategic consensus. Consequently, historians have attempted to pinpoint which group or political party might have best served women's interests between the wars. However, in so doing, they have assumed the existence of collective gender interests and underestimated the depth of long-standing and natural political divisions among female activists.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1993 .C53. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 33-04, page: 1130. Supervisor: Daniel Ritschel. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1993.

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