grayscale portrait photo of old smiling woman

The women’s movement had its roots in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Changes such as the American and French revolutions promoted ideas of equality and liberty, yet women were not permitted to vote, and most had limited access to education.

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In 1792, a British writer called Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women, setting out her belief in equal rights for men and women. This idea took a firm hold during the 1800s, and many women started to campaign for reform. The suffragettes engaged in many different forms of protest, including chaining themselves to railings outside the residence of the British Prime Minister.