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Suffragettes and the Scottish press during the First World War.

Pedersen, Sarah



This article analyses the coverage of the suffrage movement in Scottish newspapers during the First World War. Suspension of militant action and a re-focus on women's war work did not mean the complete disappearance of the suffrage campaign from newspapers. However, while militant and non-militant organisations received press coverage for their war work, there were also stories associating suffragettes with the peace effort' or even conspiracies against the state. Volunteers at the Scottish Women's Hospitals were approvingly described as 'suffragettes' but the appellation retained negative connotations when used about peace campaigners. Brave 'suffragette battalions' were reported to be arriving in France, but at the same time a politician painted the Germans as 'the suffragettes of Europe'. Whilst editors wrote enthusiastically of women's contribution to the war effort, jokes about suffragettes continued to provide light relief. Editorials made the connection between women's war work and achievement of the vote. However, not all readers were happy with this point of view, with some correspondents attacking what they saw as the suffrage organisations' opportunistic use of war work and abandonment of working women.


PEDERSEN, S. 2018. Suffragettes and the Scottish press during the First World War. Women's history review [online], 27(4), pages 534-550. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 22, 2017
Online Publication Date Feb 22, 2017
Publication Date Aug 31, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 23, 2018
Journal Women's history review
Print ISSN 0961-2025
Electronic ISSN 1747-583X
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 4
Pages 534-550
Keywords Suffage movement; Scottish newspapers; First World War; Womens' war work; Working women
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