All Across Europe, thousands of men, women and even some children fought for the women’s right to vote. These citizens encountered many struggles while supporting this cause. A leading issue they came up against was bringing attention to their mission. During the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th many different strategies were used in the war for women’s suffrage. Women in Europe may have used many different aggressive, confrontational and argumentative tactics as a means to get the right to vote; however the most effective was their peaceful movements. Although one would think that violent and brutal movements would work better, it simply made the women look over emotion and lessened their support base.
Their physical and aggressive actions were usually ineffectual. In Great Britain in order to draw attention to their cause women gathered outside the Prime ministers house and cuffed themselves to railings and surfaces around his home. However this had the opposite outcome they had hoped for, most women their were arrested and imprisoned. As one could imagine it is hard to support a cause and build a campaign when your supporters are being put in jail for participating in your mission. “As it became more radical and violent, the WSPU lost many of its supporters.”Although these more radical events did prove how seriously women were taking this cause, it did make many people leave the WSPU because they felt they did not want to participate in organization that condone violence. Not only did some of these attacks put a great deal of important leaders from their movement in prison, it also turned countless people off from joining this push for women’s suffrage.
Although many others wanted to join, they simply were recognizing that a lot of members participating were either being imprisoned or were becoming increasingly violent. “After that the movement began to wage warfare, orchestrating systematic window-smashing and arson attacks.” This is exactly the type of event many women were not comfortable being associated with. The WSPU began getting a reputation for allowing violence to continue in order to support and help get women’s suffrage recognized. Obviously many citizens were uncomfortable taking part in an organization like that. A good deal of people judged the arson attacks and vandalism, however it had not yet taken a turn for the worst. “In June 1913 Emily Wilding Davison threw herself under the King’s horse at the Derby racecourse and was killed. She was the only suffragette to die for the cause and was made into a martyr” Now it was not simply things becoming damaged, a person had lost their life for this cause. All of these actions brought a lot of negative and unfavorable attention to the cause.
Instead of these drastic measures bringing awareness to this pressing issue, it made women seem overly emotional, ignorant, and intelligent. Overall the violence used as a strategy for women’s suffrage only hurt their cause. The first thing to bring attention to Women’s suffrage was public speeches, many of these inspired others to join the movement and are the main reason there was a push for women’s voting rights. After that followed a slow but large audience supporting this cause through different organizations. “Women’s suffrage caught public attention following an important public gathering and a speech given by Lily Braun” In 1994 Lily Braun gave a speech about the important of Women’s vote and because of her, lots of positive attention was brought to the cause. This was one of the first times women’s suffrage was in the public eye. Typically education and other social issues took priority and many ignored women’s rights. After that speech many began to realize the importance of voting rights for women. These peaceful and modeavation speeches were very useful in recruiting new members to join the army of angry women. One of the reasons many men said women couldn’t vote was because they were not “rational”. And when women became angry and violent it simply proved to the men that they were correct; women couldn’t handle their emotions in a reasonable way.
However when they were restrained and professional it demonstrated that they were capable of being logical. “The General German Women’s Association was founded and it is considered to be the birth of German women’s movement” Another “peaceful” thing that women did to help their cause was that they began making organizations to help women band together. The GGMA (General German Women’s Association), although they were not just focused on women’s voting rights they were still very large supporters in helping get closer to the ultimate goal of the ability to vote. The GGMA (General German Women’s Association) is one of the oldest organizations for women and they assisted in opening the conversation about rights. “The German Association for Women’s Suffrage, was formed in 1902 and after that many other smaller organizations were formed all across the country.”
The GGMA inspired other people across Germany and also across Europe to start organizations are recruit members to help move this cause along. This mass involvement is a large part of the reason women were in fact eventually able to vote. Women literally all over Europe joined several different corporations in order to beg, plead, and push the government into supporting women’s suffrage.