Quakers, Actresses, Gymnasts and other Suffragists
Now that the suffragettes’ cry of votes for women had awakened widespread public interest in women’s suffrage, new organizations dedicated to votes for women sprouted up all over the kingdom. Unlike the WSPU and the NUWSS, which sought to unite all comers under the suffrage banner, most new groups were established on the basis of the members’ shared religion, profession, trade, or just about anything else. In 1913, the Suffrage Annual and Women’s Who’s Who listed 44 societies, leaving no section of British society without its representative suffragists. These new groups could spread awareness of women’s suffrage into different segments of society and bring pressure to bear from their own particular vantage points. The civil servant suffragists, for instance, joined together to allow their influence to be felt ‘in their capacity as civil servants,’ while Catholic women united to show their co-religionists that ‘the extension of the Suffrage to women was completely in harmony with [the teachings of the Church.]’ The advent of so many suffragist groups only spurred on the anti-suffragists, who for the first time established themselves in organizations, fighting a valiant but losing battle against women’s enfranchisement.
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