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100 Years Ago: Ladies breaking windows

by
02 July 2008

July 3rd, 1908.

MR ASQUITH, on Tuesday, was not at home at the House of Commons to the Suffragist ladies who called upon him, and it was, perhaps, quite as well that he was not in a ground-floor room of No. 10, Downing-street, when two viragos paid him a domiciliary visit and broke his windows with stones out of a dolly-bag, whatever that may be. The curious thing about these demonstrators is that they imagine they are doing their cause good. We think it is much more likely to commend to the public attention the movement which women of the opposite way of thinking are organising, women who are equally entitled with those others to an attentive hearing. In the Times of Tuesday, Mrs Humphry Ward, asking the question, “Is Woman Suffrage Inevitable?” describes what has happened in America after sixty years of agitation in favour of feminine suffrage. The women themselves have maintained so vigorous an opposition to the movement, that it “has not gained a legislative victory of any importance during the last ten years, while its defeats are numbered by hundreds”. What is more, the agitation in its favour has had the unfortunate result, through its failure, of checking the legitimate influence of women in spheres which most truly belong to them — boards of education, for example. “By quiet, resolute, and slowly strengthening opposition,” Mrs Ward writes, “the women of America have defeated the women suffrage movement.”

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