Suffrage glossary

Anti-Suffrage League
Founded by Mary Humphrey Ward in 1908 to campaign against women being granted the vote.
arson
The act of deliberately setting fire to property with a view to causing extensive damage.
biased
Influenced or prejudiced against someone or something.
Cat and Mouse Act
A colloquial name for the Prisoner's Temporary Discharge of Ill Health Act which permitted suffragettes on hunger strike to be released but re-arrested once well again to complete their sentences.
constitutional
A peaceful, legal way of campaigning, often using recognised 'political' methods such as petitions.
enfranchisement
To be granted the vote or the state of having the vote.
Equal Franchise Act
In 1928, the Equal Franchise Act was passed, granting women aged 21 and over the vote.
force feeding
Imprisoned suffragettes on hunger strike were sometimes force fed. Being force fed involved a rubber tube being inserted into the throat or nose and liquidised food being poured in.
franchise
The right to vote in public elections.
hunger strike
Some imprisoned suffragettes went on hunger strike to further raise awareness for their cause.
manifesto
A public declaration or proclamation, stating the aims and methods of a campaign group.
militant
Aggressive and violent behaviour in pursuit of a political cause, favouring extreme or confrontational campaign methods.
NUWSS
The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was formed in 1897 and brought together many smaller suffrage organisations. The NUWSS's method was non-confrontational and constitutional.
pacifist
An individual who disagrees with war on principle.
petition
A formal written request or application, especially one signed by many people, to a particular individual or group, for example, a government.
positive discrimination
Discrimination in favour of individuals belonging to a group considered to be disadvantaged or underprivileged.
propaganda
The publication of resources and ideas designed to encourage a particular and specific response.
Representation of the People Act
In 1918, the Representation of the People Act granted the vote to women over 30 who were also householders, the wives of householders, owners of property worth over £5 or university graduates. The Act also granted the franchise to all men over the age of 21.
suffrage
The power to vote.
suffragette
A campaigner for women's suffrage willing to undertake militant action or to break the law.
suffragist
A campaigner for women's suffrage who believes in constitutional methods of campaigning.
WFL
The Women's Freedom League was formed in 1907 after a disagreement over how the WSPU was run. It was founded by Charlotte Despard, Edith How-Martyn and Teresa Billington Greig and often used militant methods of campaigning.
WSPU
The Women's Social and Political Union was founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst who was disillusioned with the constitutional methods of campaigning employed by the NUWSS. The WSPU preferred to raise public and media awareness of the campaign by militant action.