Jessie Ravenna Sharman (b. 1892): Politics, Protest and Class

There is an omission of any detail regarding politics in Jessie Ravenna Sharman’s memoir, Recollections of Jessie Ravenna Sharman.  The way that Sharman fails to mention any political parties or the voting system carries great significance and shows how women, working-class or not, could not vote for any political party at this time; the fact that she doesn’t mention this signifies her lack of involvement and participation in the political world through no decision of her own, but simply due to her gender.

Only in 1918 did a minority of women gain the right to vote. ‘In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote.’[1] In 1918, Sharman would not have qualified for voting under these establishments, despite it being unknown as to whether or not she owned a property at this time; she would have still been under the age of 30.

A Suffragette protest in London, 1928
A Suffragette protest in London, 1928

‘It was not until the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 that women over 21 were able to vote and women finally achieved the same voting rights as men.’[2] At this time, Sharman would have been allowed to vote, but there is still an absence of detail regarding her ever voting. As an audience, we are unaware of her political perspective or any views of the British Government.

 

 


[1] Women Get The Vote, http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/thevote/

[2] Women Get The Vote, http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/thevote/

Bibliography:

618 SHARMAN, Jessie Ravenna, ‘RecolIections of Jessie Ravenna Sharman’, TS, pp.8 (c.2,000 words). BruneI University Library.

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