In June 1917, a bill for the Representation of the People Act giving the vote to women over the age of 30 was passed by a majority in the House of Commons.
The following year, women voted in a parliamentary election for the first time.
It is therefore fitting that 100 years later a new investigation of Scottish women’s contribution to the suffrage movement is to be published by a Robert Gordon University (RGU) professor.
Professor Sarah Pedersen’s latest book, entitled ‘The Scottish Suffragettes and the Press’ approaches the Scottish women’s suffrage campaign from the point of view of the popular press. It investigates how the press engaged with the women’s suffrage movement, how suffragettes were portrayed in newspapers and how different groups attempted to use the press to get their message into the public sphere.
Professor Pedersen, who is Professor of Communication and Media and also Gender Equality Champion at RGU, said: “Scottish suffrage campaigners acknowledged the need for press coverage from the start of the campaign in the 1870s but the arrival of the militant suffragettes completely transformed newspaper coverage.
“The Scottish newspapers were particularly interested in suffragette activities during local by-elections and their hounding of local anti-suffrage MPs.
“While most of us know of the activities of the suffragettes in London, it is important to understand that this was a national movement, with militant actions happening throughout Scotland. Scotland was particularly important for the suffragettes because so many members of the Liberal government, such as Churchill and Asquith, held seats here.”
The book also investigates the impact of the First World War on the movement, as well as provides a comprehensive overview of the suffrage issue in the Scottish press between 1903 and 1918.
Professor Pedersen’s research focuses on women’s engagement with the media, and she has published on this subject with reference to both historical and contemporary sources, including Edwardian newspapers, social media, online discussion sites and blogging.
For more information on the book, or to buy, please visit: http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137538338