Procession of the religious leagues for women's suffrage, c.1914.
7JCC/O/02/028Photograph, printed, paper, monochrome, line of women in the street wearing sandwich boards, each with the name of a different religious suffrage society, led by a women bring a banner 'Religious Leagues for Women's Suffrage'; on reverse manuscript explanation of the procession, which was held monthly
Suffragettes Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the late 1800s, women worked for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, and sought to change voting laws in order to allow them to vote. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904, Berlin, Germany), and also worked for equal civil rights for women. Women who owned property gained the right to vote in the Isle of Man in 1881, and in 1893, the British colony of New Zealand granted all women the right to vote. Most independent countries enacted women's suffrage in the interwar era, including Canada in 1917; Britain, Germany, Poland in 1918; Austria and the Netherlands in 1919; and the United States in 1920. Leslie Hume argues that the First World War changed the popular mood: "The women's contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women's physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote. If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the polling booth. But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women's participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women's entry into the public arena..."