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What were the consequences?

Introduction

Women in Britain gained the vote in 1918, but the Representation of the People Act was only a first step. Later in 1918, the Eligibility of Women Act enabled women in Britain to stand for Parliament. In 1928 all women over 21 gained the right to vote. In many other countries there was a similar development. Women gained the right to vote in the United States in 1919. Women's suffrage was introduced in Germany by the 1919 Weimar constitution. Most of the western world followed suit.

 

Despite these advances after the First World War, the struggle for votes for women was far from over. In many countries, including Britain, there were restrictions and exceptions. Social attitudes were slow to change and the right to vote did not mean women were equal. In the Great Depression, the mass unemployment of men resulted in pressures on women to retreat back into the role of 'housewife'. However change was happening in the interwar years, and was accelerated by the experiences of the Second World War. In 1950, the newly-formed Council of Europe drafted the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrined equality between the sexes as a fundamental right. The Convention was ratified in 1953 and its 60th anniversary in 2013 was widely celebrated.

 

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