Banner for women's suffrage glossary - taken from a NUWSS pamphlet titled 'What does Women's Suffrage mean?'

Women’s suffrage glossary

A short guide to the key words used by, and about, the movement for women's suffrage.
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.

Cartoon depicting force-feeding from The Daily Herald

Illustration depicts Asquith force-feeding an imprisoned suffragette

This satirical cartoon, which appeared on the front page of the Daily Herald on 24 May 1913, depicts Home Secretary Reginald McKenna using a bucket and funnel to force-feed a blindfolded and bound suffragette.

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Usage terms Public Domain

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.

NUWSS pamphlets

NUWSS tree with branches showing the society's regionality

From an acorn, stamped with the date ‘1867’, grows the many branches of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

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Usage terms Public Domain

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 right to vote in political elections.
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.
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