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First petition to parliament for women's suffrage. Fails

Great Reform Act gives vote to more men, but no women.


First mass women’s suffrage petition presented to parliament by John Stuart Mill MP

A picture of John Stuart Mill, British social reformer and philosopher
Postcard featuring John Stuart Mill, c.1907 (The Women’s Library at LSE)


First women's suffrage societies set up. Organised campaigning begins


Women's Suffrage Bill rejected by parliament

Married Women's Property Act gives married women the right to their own property and money.

Image showing a suffrage campaigning poster.
Suffrage campaigning: 182 City And Town Councils Have Petitioned Government To Give Facilities For Passing The Woman Suffrage Bill (The Women’s Library at LSE)


Women in Scotland given the right to vote and stand for school boards


Suffrage societies campaign for the vote through the Representation of the People Act 1884, also known as the Third Reform Act. Fails


Local Government Act allows women to vote and stand for election at a local level


National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) formed

Image of the front cover of a National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies leaflet featuring an illustrated tree with several branches. Each branch has a place name – ‘Manchester’, ‘London’ etc. – referencing the different branches of the society.
National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies leaflet, c.1909-1914. (©The British Library Board (8413.k.5)


Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) founded by Emmeline Pankhurst

Image of a Women’s Social and Political Union postcard. Shows an illustrated female figure pulling a ribbon with the writing ‘Votes for Women’ on it.
WSPU postcard, c.1911 (The Women’s Library at LSE)


First militant action. Suffragettes Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney interrupt a political meeting in Manchester and are arrested


Liberal Party wins general election


NUWSS organises the successful ‘United Procession of Women’, also known as the ‘Mud March’

Women’s Enfranchisement Bill reaches a second reading. Fails

Qualification of Women Act is passed: allows election to borough and county councils

The Women’s Freedom League is formed

Image of a yellow Women’s Freedom League membership card.
Women’s Freedom League membership card (The Women’s Library at LSE)
Image of a Women’s Freedom league badge. Around the edge are the words ‘Womens Freedom League’ and in the centre, the words ‘Votes for Women’.
Women’s Freedom League badge, c.1907 (The Women’s Library at LSE)


Anti-suffragist Liberal MP, Herbert Henry Asquith, becomes prime minister

Portrait photograph of Herbert Henry Asquith, former Prime Minister of the UK.
H.H. Asquith, former Prime Minister of the UK (Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-23315)

Women's Sunday demonstration organised by WSPU in London. Attended by 250,000 people from around Britain

The Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League (WASL) is founded by Mrs Humphrey Ward

Portrait photograph of Mary Augusta Ward, novelist and social worker.
Mary Augusta Ward (1851 - 1920). Novelist and Social Worker (NPG x27266 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


Marion Wallace-Dunlop becomes the first suffragette to hunger-strike

20th October - Adela Pankhurst, & four others, interrupt a political meeting in Dundee. Convicted of Breach of the Peace: £2 fine or 10 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment

Image of the front cover of the ‘Suffragettes In and Out of Prison Game and Puzzle’.
Suffragettes In and Out of Prison Game, c.1908 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

The Women’s Tax Resistance League (WTRL) is formed

Image of a Women’s Tax Resistance League badge. Features an image of a ship and the words ‘No Vote No Tax’.
‘No Vote No Tax’ badge. Women’s Tax Resistance League, 1909-1914 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

Women's Suffrage procession in Edinburgh organised by WSPU. Celebrated past achievements of women, and future opportunities for women

6th December - Elsie Roe Brown and Edith Hudson interrupt a political meeting. Convicted of Malicious Mischief and Breach of the Peace: £3 fine or 15 days in gaol for Brown, £5 fine or 30 days in gaol for Hudson. Chose imprisonment


The WASL merges with the Men’s National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage

Image of the National League for Opposing Woman-Suffrage badge. Features an illustration of a plant with the head of a thistle, rose and clover, denoting Scotland, England and Ireland.
National League for Opposing Woman-Suffrage Badge, 1910-1918 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

Conciliation Bill for limited suffrage. Fails

10th November – In retaliation, 300 Suffragettes from WSPU march on parliament. They are met with police brutality, assault and arrests. The day later becomes known as ‘Black Friday’


Census boycott organised by the Women's Freedom League

Women's Coronation Procession. 40,000 women from 28 suffrage societies march for female enfranchisement

Photograph of a procession of women and surrounding crowds. This was the ‘Prison to Citizenship pageant’ in 1911.
The ‘Prison to Citizenship’ pageant, 1911 (The Women’s Library at LSE)


Parliamentary Franchise (Women) Bill is defeated by 222 votes to 208. Fails

23rd February - Annie Rhoda Craig or Walker smashes the windows of a motor car. Convicted of Breach of Peace: 7 days imprisonment and £10 caution for 6 months good behaviour or 7 days further imprisonment

7th September - Ethel Moorhead (alias Edith Johnston) smashes the exhibition case holding the William Wallace Sword in Stirling. Convicted of Malicious Mischief: £2 fine or 7 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment

30th October - Ellison Gibb and Fanny Parker smash the windows of Savings Bank and Inland Revenue. Convicted of Malicious Mischief: 30s fine or 10 days in gaol. They chose imprisonment

A newspaper clipping with the title ‘Suffragette Outrage in Dundee: Windows of Savings Bank And Inland Revenue Smashed, And Dundee Merchant Offers to Provide Bail for Arrested Women’. Includes a photograph of Ellison Gibb and Fanny Parker on the front.
Newspaper clipping ‘Suffragette Outrage in Dundee’ featuring a photograph Ellison Gibb and Fanny Parker (NRS, HH16/42)

2nd November - Ethel Moorhead whips a Mr Peter Ross in the face. Convicted of assault: £1 fine or 10 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment

3rd December - Ethel Moorhead (alias Mary Humphreys) throws stones through a car window. Convicted of Malicious Mischief: 40s fine or 10 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment

3rd December - Fanny Parker, Joyce Locke and Marion Pollock are found hiding near a Liberal political conference, preparing to interrupt the speaker. Convicted of Breach of Peace: 20s fine or 5 days in prison. They chose imprisonment

5th December - Emily Wilding Davison (alias Mary Brown) whips Reverend. Forbes Jackson on the head and body. Convicted of Breach of the Peace: 40s fine or 10 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment


The Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act, also known as the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act, allows for temporary discharge of prisoners on licence

Image of the front cover of The Suffragette newspaper. The headline reads ‘Cat and Mouse: Ministerial Gambling is not Confined to Marconis’ and features an illustration of the Grim Reaper playing dice with a minister.
Front cover from the newspaper The Suffragette, 18th July 1913 (NRS, HH16/44)

4th February - Ethel Moorhead (alias Margaret Morrison) threw pepper in a policeman's face, smashed 12 window panes and dumped a bucket of water over a police sergeant. Convicted of assault, breach of the peace, malicious mischief and assault: £20 fine or 30 days in gaol. Chose imprisonment

Emily Wilding Davison dies

Portrait photograph of Emily Wilding Davison.
Emily Wilding Davison, c.1905 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

50,000 people take part in NUWSS' Pilgrimage for Women's Suffrage

Image of hand drawn map showing the different entry points in London for the Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage.
Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage Map, 26.07.1913 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

19th May - Arabella Scott and four others attempt to burn down the grand stand at Kelso racecourse. Scott is charged with attempted fire-raising: 9 months' imprisonment

29th August - Flora Ellen Smith and Winnie Wallace assaulted Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. Charged with Disorderly Conduct and Breach of the Peace. Kept untried at Inverness Prison before charges were dropped

15th October - Ethel Moorhead (alias Margaret Morrison) and Dorothea Lynas or Smith attempted to set fire to 6 Park Gardens, Glasgow. Convicted of House-breaking and Attempted Fire-raising: 8 months' imprisonment


NUWSS reaches 50,000 members; WSPU has 5,000 members

9th March - Police attempt to re-arrest Emmeline Pankhurst at meeting in St Andrew's Hall, Glasgow. Witnesses allege police brutality

12th March - Helen Crawfurd convicted of Wilful and Malicious Mischief for smashing windows: 10 days' imprisonment

23rd June - Frances Gordon convicted of House-breaking with intent to set fire: 12 months' imprisonment.

3rd July - Maude Edwards slashes a portrait of King George V in the Royal Scottish Academy: 3 months' imprisonment. Served 11 days in Perth Prison

Photograph of Maude Edwards in a white dress with another woman by her side.
Photograph of Maude Edwards (Crown copyright, NRS, HH16/47)

4th August - Britain declares war on Germany

10th August - Government announces that all suffragettes will be released from prison


Representation of the People Act. Allows women over 30 and men over 21 to vote

November - Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act. Women can stand as MPs

Constance Markievicz becomes the first woman to be elected as an MP, but in line with Sinn Féin policy, refused to take her seat


Milicent Fawcett retires as President of NUWSS. NUWSS becomes the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship

Portrait photograph of Millicent Garrett Fawcett.
Portrait of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, c.1910 (The Women’s Library at LSE)

Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act. Becomes illegal to prevent women from working in public roles because of sex or marriage. Women can become lawyers

Nancy Astor becomes the first female MP to take her seat in the House of Commons


Duchess of Atholl becomes first female MP in Scotland


The Equal Franchise Act. Granted equal voting rights to women and men. Both women and men could vote at the age of 21


Voting age is lowered to 18 for women and men


Equal Pay Act


Sex Discrimination Act


Great progress has been made, but there is still more to do. Only one third of MPs are women. Women are still campaigning for fully equal opportunities and pay. Sexual discrimination is still being rooted out, as the #MeToo movement has highlighted


Full equality