Suffragette struggle in Britain

After a long struggle of suffragism, the British were able to vote for the first time in equal rights to men on May 30, 1929, 137 years after the publication of the precursor text ‘Vindications rights of women’ Mary Wollstonecraft .

To reach that election day, with 15 million citizens surveyed, intense political debates, rallies, protest actions, newspapers, stays in prison and even martyrs were necessary. Especially from 1905 when, almost exhausted the political and legal means, the suffragettes intensified the defense for their rights.

Chronologically, the history of British suffragette is almost parallel to the US, although the US would recognize the vote eight years ago, on August 26, 1920.

Below, we highlight the key moments in the recognition of the rights of women, key in the recognition of equal citizenship across Europe.


The British Electoral Law defines the voters as “male persons” (male persons) and therefore excludes women.

First request for women’s vote in Parliament by Henry Hunt but signed by Mary Smith.


Born two of the first suffragette organizations ‘Women’s Suffrage Provisional ComITT’ and ‘Kensington Society’.


It takes place the first rally in London in defense of women’s suffrage.


John Stuart Mill presents and defends the proposal in Parliament female suffrage signed by 1,500 women.


It is published the ‘Women’s Sufragge Journal, magazine founded by Lydia Becker and Jessie Boucherett.

1871 → 77

Suffragists are organized into new groups such as the ‘London National Society for Women’s Suffrage’, the ‘Central ComITT of National Society for Women’s Suffrage’ (1872) or the ‘New Central ComITT of National Society for Women’s Suffrage’ (1877).


the third Electoral Law (Third Reform Act) was debated in Parliament and women organized a campaign to be included in it, without success.


Born the ‘Women’s Franchise League, founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her husband Richard Pankhurst. His goal was to ensure that all women (married, widowed or single) could vote in local elections.


the vote is granted married women in local elections.


Creation of the ‘National Union of Women’s Suffrage Association’ (NUWSS), led by Millicent Fawcett to unite all peace groups under one organization.


Emmeline Pankhurst founded in Manchester the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’ (WSPU).


suffragette militancy intensifies.




1910 → 12

The British Parliament is debating several proposals ( ‘Conciliation Bills’) that could have approved the vote to women, but none came forward.





In 1928, through the ‘Equal Franchise Act’ vote recognizes women over 21 years, equating voters rights of men and women. 15 million women can thus exercise their right to vote and parliamentary representation.

(Sources: ‘women’s vote’ 1977-1978 (Council of A Coruña Pablo Iglesias Foundation) ‘Women and the vote Key dates.’ Parliament of United Kingdom…..).