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At the Height of the Womens MovementOscar Wildes An Ideal Husband takes place in Great Britain in 1895 The women of the play perform a large role in the society They have major contributions to the political and home life The time period is at the height of the womens suffrage movement It began in Britain in 1820 in response to James Mills claim that there was no need to extend suffrage to women because their fathers and husbands would protect their interests There were three phases to the womens movement The first Pioneering lasted from 1866 to 1870 It focused on the Reform Act of 1867 In 1869 the Municipal Corporations Act was passed during this period as well This granted women the right to vote in local elections as men This set a precedent for many reforms to follow The first was the 1870 Education Act which gave women the right to vote in the local school board electionsThe second phase lasted from 1870 to 1905 It was called the period of doldrums because the movement quieted down This is the time period in which the play takes place In 1870 at the very beginning of the era the first womens suffrage bill proposed in Congress was passed in the second reading However the Prime Minister defeated it because he needed to consent with his party line Still by 1892 the movement had made considerable progressions Approximately 503000 women were eligible to vote in the local elections Had they been able to vote on the national level women would have made up over ten percent of the parliamentary college In 1883 the Corrupt Practices Law incorporated women into the mainstream political world This law prohibited political parties from paying workers to help in their campaigning They had to begin recruiting unpaid volunteers Women became their main supporters From this formed many female auxiliary organizations and allowed women to become increasingly active in politics
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