LETTER:Wartime winners

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The Independent Online
From Mr John Campbell

Sir: I was sorry to see Andrew Marr (8 February) repeating the myth that women got the vote "because of the violence and courage of the suffragettes". It is not true. The status of the suffragettes as feminist heroines is probably too established to be corrected now; but the truth is that the violence of 1908-14 set back the cause of women's suffrage, alienating supporters such as Lloyd George and Churchill, who believed that the Government could not be seen to yield to terrorism.

Women did not get the vote before 1914. They won it in 1918, with very little controversy, as a result of their participation as munitions workers and nurses in the Great War. It was the vital war work of millions of unsung women, not the counterproductive antics of the suffragettes, that dissolved the opposition to women's votes.

But I fear that history is no match for a popular myth.

Yours faithfully,

John Campbell

London, W11