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Women's Suffrage

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Sophia Duleep Singh - Indian princess, goddaughter to Queen Victoria and a pivotal figure in the suffrage movement, remembered on the new Royal Mail stamps
 
It is 100 years since the Representation of the People Act (1918) allowed women under the age of 30, and all men over the age of 21, the right to vote in the UK.  However, it wasn't until 2nd July 1928, the Second Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, that women received equal voting rights with men.

Suffrage Poster featuring John Bull, the personification of England, struggling to cope without the help of women
 
A number of other legislative changes were passed into law during the 1920s, which furthered women rights. 
  • In 1920, the Sex Discrimination Act allowed women access to the legal profession and accountancy
  • In 1921, unemployment benefits are extended to include allowances for wives
  • In 1922, the Law of Property Act allows both husband and wife to inherit property equally
  • In 1923, the Matrimonial Causes Act makes grounds for divorce the same for women and men
 

Millicent Garett Fawcett, a moderate campaigner for women's rights and
instrumental in gaining the vote for women in 1918
 
The first general election, in which women are allowed to vote, was held in 1929.  This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Flapper Election’ due to the thousands of young women that turned out to vote.

However, the reforms did not stop the misogynistic 'anti-suffrage' views that many held about how and why women would vote.
 

1920s Anti-Suffrage Postcard, demonstrating the prevailing misogynistic views of the time
 
The Women's suffrage movement also had an influence on perfume trends.  In 1917, Coty's 'Chypre' was launched with dry, mossy notes, quite unlike the feminine florals of the Edwardian age. This was followed in 1919 by Caron's Tabac Blond, a provocative fragrance with tobacco, vanilla and floral notes, to disguise the smell of tobacco smoke on the wearer.  

Caron's Tabac Blond, 1919 - a daring tobacco fragrance
 
A rare collection of Women's Suffrage Movement posters are currently on Display at Cambridge University Library
1920s 1930s Coty deco london Millicent Garett Fawcett Sophia Duleep Singh Tabac Blond women's suffrage

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