Women’s Government Work

Though women did not receive the vote and were not permitted to stand for Parliament until 1918, laws were passed prior to this, which increased the role women played in their local government. In 1869, the Municipal Franchise Act gave unmarried women ratepayers the vote in council elections, thereby restoring the right lost to them under the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act. After the passage of the 1870 Elementary Education Act, they could vote and stand for election to the new school boards, in 1875 the first female Poor Law Guardian was elected, and under the 1894 Local Government Act, women could vote and stand for the Parish and District Council, all of which opened up a wider sphere of political work hitherto barred for women. Soon after the first election for the Parish and District Council, close to 2000 women were engaged in administrative work on school boards, poor law boards, parish vestries, and various parish and district councils. By the turn of the century, women could vote and stand for these positions throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

Voting Qualifications


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