Women's Freedom League and The Vote

A campaign for Women's suffrage and sexual equality by the Women's Freedom League.

In September of 1907, 77 members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), broke off and formed the Women's Freedom League (WFL).  Two of the most prominent women who helped further popularize the WFL were Teresa Billington- Greig and Charlotte Despard.  

The Women's Freedom League was very different from its predecessor.  For starters, they were suffragists. Unlike their predecessor (WSPU) which only allowed suffragettes.  The WFL was a militant organization, much like the WSPU.  They were willing to break the law but did so without vandalizing property or attacking politians. WFL used forms of non-violent protests, like demonstrations or tax resistance.  The WFL was a completely non-violent, passive, organization and protested aganist WSPU's violent nature.  It's popularity grew rapidly and had about 60 branches througout Britain. Clarie Eustance's thesis paper references all of the 60 branches, including their location and who was in charge of each WFL branch. The organization was twice the size of WSPU. They, eventually,  had the abilty to fund their own newspaper The Vote in 1909.  The Vote produced weekly report of WFL's activity. These reports enlightened the readers of the organization and activities in their local communities.  

My article from Maria DiCenzo explains the importance of writing in the British Suffrage Movement.  Within this article it mentions the Women's Freedom League grew in popularity by having its own newpaper The Vote. It also states that Teresa Billington- Greig and Charlotte Despard were the leading writing ladies for WFL. My source is by Claire Eustance. She right all of her information in her thesis paper.  It is an extensive, well informing paper that guides the reader throughout all of the WFL movements.  The paper starts with the reasons for the formation of WFL, getting funding for the succesful newpaper The Vote, oppsoing the Great war, and the conclusion of the movement in 1961. 

Maria. “Justifying Their Modern Sisters: History Writing and the British Suffrage Movement.” Victorian Review, vol. 31, no. 1, 2005, pp. 40–61. JSTOR

Eustance, Clarie. "Daring to be Free: The Evoultion of Women's Political Identities in the Women's Freedom League." University of York, 1993, pp. 1- 438. 

Charlotte Despard

Simkin, John. Spartacus Educational.  Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd, https://spartacus-educational.com/Wdespard.htm

Teresa Billington- Greig

Simkin, John. Spartacus Education. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd, https://spartacus-educational.com/Wbillington.htm

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Sep 1907 to 1961