Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Women's Social and Political Union
Karen Manners Smith
The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), the militant wing of the British women's suffrage movement, was founded in Manchester in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel, Sylvia, and Adela. Along with the more conservative National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), founded in 1897, the WSPU sought votes for women in a country that had expressly denied women the franchise in 1832. Although English women had been allowed to vote in local elections and act on school boards since the 1880s, full political equality eluded them. The Pankhursts' organization was impatient with the moderate NUWSS and with the intransigence of both the Liberal and Conservative parties, for whom the suffrage issue was a political football. The WSPU also found itself at odds with Britain's Labour Party, although it maintained a high level of support ...