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WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE.

MRS F. COLE’S REMARKS. Under the heading of “Women's Suffrage in Great Britain” Mrs F. Cole referred to this subject when delivering her address to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She said :

“What is the state of i (fairs at present in that great struggle for equal rights at the ballot box with men? No sympathy for the women from that leader of a great party to whom England is looking for the solving of many social problems. Mr Asquith has declared that lie believes that it would bo bad for the women and bad for the country to grant the suffrage to the women of Great Britain. By an utterance like that the Prime Minister of a mighty Empire easts a slur on the free nations within the Empire who have already enfranchised their women. Luckily, all members of Mr Asquith’s Cabinet are not of the same opinion, and justice must bo done ere long to more than half the population, of the United Kingdom. What is it that the women claim? That they should have the same voting power as the men at tho ballot box. hi the past they claimed that as tho men qualified for the vote by tho payment of a certain rental per year, so should the women. Under that provision about a million women would be enfranchised But now tho Homo Government is proposing to place manhood suffrage oi( a far more liberal basis, and the wonietf claim, quite logically, that tho Government shall make provision in this new franchise bill for woman’s suffrage cn the same basil as that for the men. Wo should not sympathise with them sc much if their claim was less, for they have no right to a limited privileged t ranch iso any more than the men have. Wo rejoice that they will bo satisfied with nothing less, for wo had been led to believe by some that the women of Great. Britain wore desiring a suffrage that would benefit only tiie propertied class. Their quarrel with the British Government now is that the Prime Minister will not include in the new Electoral Bill votes for women, but the only concession he will giva is an opportunity lor a sympathiser to mova an amendment to the bill, giving votes to women. This concession is not believed to be of much value, and so the British, women still keep up their agitation against tlie Government

“The tactics of the suffragists in England have been condemned over and over again. If an enemy takes the gloves off in a fight Ids opponent must do the same or be content to bo it a disadvantage. Force was first used by the men who opposed the suffrage, and force has been met by force in this case. Has it not always been so in the past? Carry your minds back to a time when men were fighting for a widtfr franchise, before the passing of the Reform Bill. What were their weapons? Attempted murder. incendiarism, plunder, robbery, and defiance of all authorities, civil and military. We are not defending such extreme measures, but those agitators won their point after a display of force terrible in its effects. Many content! that the women of Great Britain arc injuring their cause by a very mild display of force —mild in its effect compared with that used by men in days gone by, who won for their class a right to a share in the Government of the country. The fact is clear that the militant suffragists have made their cause what it never was before—a power to bo reckoned with. The suf« fragists believe that for a time they must use methods which the tactics of the othet side force them to use. They are citizens, and a« citizens who are denied justice, they are battling for what they value far more than comfort, ease, or luxury, or the approval of their friends. Fines, imprison* merit, injury to health and limb, even death itself, have been borne by women in this groat cause for justice and right. Lot us never utter a disparaging word of them or their methods. Wo, who won the franchise by peaceful tactics, because our public men were just and chivalrous, have no right to question the methods of those sisters, who are fightinar with their backs to the wall for a share in the Government of the country, as a moans of improving the condition of life for those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, their sisters and ours. While wo offer our sympathy to our friends in Great Britain, we offer hearty congratulations to the women of California on the attainment of woman’s suffrage. The total returns show 4000 majority in favour of the measure. Dr Anna Shaw writes: “This is the greatest victory ever won in this country for woman, suffrage.” California is the. sixth State to have full suffrage, and follows Colorado, Idaho, Utah. Wyoming, and Washington. In all the. campaign the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had a splendid share.”

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW19120320.2.198

Bibliographic details

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE., Otago Witness, Issue 3027, 20 March 1912

Word Count
851

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE. Otago Witness, Issue 3027, 20 March 1912

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