The Vote


The Vote


Despite the title, this periodical was always concerned with feminist issues other than the suffrage, such as sexual oppression, restrictions on women’s employment (particularly the marriage bar in the 1920s), prostitution (especially the provisions of DORA), women police, etc.

The periodical was run by the Women's Freedom League, a splinter group of the Women's Social and Political Union. Although originally a very militant group, by about 1912, the WFL had moved to a a more constitutionalist position, and in the 1920s often appeared to be the epitome of restricted “achivementist” “bourgeois” feminism. However, this was more the result of its tendency to ignore potentially divisive issues, e.g. birth control, abortion, etc.. In fact, the League covered a wide range of feminist issues, and campaigned successfully not only for equal franchise (won in 1928) but for “ladies only” compartments on trains. In its latter years, The Vote was heavily subsidised by Dr. Elizabeth Knight (of the “Knight’s Castle" family), and had to cease abruptly when she died intestate in a road accident in 1933. For further information, see Linklater 1979.


Editor: Charlotte French Despard








Women's Freedom League

Collection Items

The Vote 19.540 (17 February 1920)
This issue leads with an interview with Katherine Dixon of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene on the sexual misconduct of British troops in India. It also includes articles on mothers' pensions, city housing plans, the Bishop of London's…

The Need for Women M.P.'s
The next step for many suffragists, beyond the attainment of the vote for all women, was the ability for women to serve as a member of British Parliament. This report on a mass meeting celebrating the election of Nancy, Lady Astor (1879-1964).
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