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How Jewish women helped win the vote

To mark 100 years of votes for women in the UK, a look back at the role Jewish women played in bringing about the enormous change

    A Suffrage meeting from around 1910, attended by Israel Zangwill

    One hundred years ago, women won the right to vote in the UK.

    They had to be over 30 and own property — a more inclusive law came in ten years later. The Jewish League for Woman Suffrage (JLWS) was the only Jewish women’s organisation in England—and the world—dedicated to attaining votes for British women and equal religious and communal rights for women within the Jewish community.

    Their protests were lively and they were dubbed  the “Blackguards in Bonnets”. 

    Henrietta Franklin
    President of the British National Union of Women Suffrage Societies in 1916 and 1917.

    Part of a small but powerful group who participated in the British suffrage movement
    Eleanor Marx
    Although not a JLWS member, Eleanor Marx has been called “the mother of socialist feminism”.

    A supporter of women’s suffrage, she also thought it a bourgeois movement, and pressed for the rights of working-class women. Unsurprising— her father was,Karl Marx
    Edith Zangwill
    In 1912. she helped form the JLWS, which was open to both male and female members.

    Married the women’s rights supporter Israel Zangwill
    Henrietta Franklin, Eleanor Marx and Edith Zangwill
    Henrietta Franklin, Eleanor Marx and Edith Zangwill
    Lilian Montagu
    Founding member, with her sister, of the JLWS.

    She also served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism
    Inez Bensusan
    Leader of the Actresses’ Franchise League and the Jewish League for Woman Suffrage
    Lilian Montagu, Inez Bensusan
    Lilian Montagu, Inez Bensusan

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