The Ascent of Woman: A History of the Suffragette Movement and the Ideas Behind it
By Melanie Phillips
320 pages, (March 2003)
Little, Brown , ISBN: 0316725331
The story of the fight to gain the vote for women is about much more than a skirmish around the introduction of universal suffrage. It is a story of social and sexual revolutionary upheaval, and one which has not yet ended. The movement for women's suffrage in the late-19th and early 20th centuries prefigured to a startling extent the controversies which rage today around the role of women. Far from the stereotype of a uniform body of women chaining themselves to railings, the early feminist movement was riven by virulent arguments over women's role in society, the balance to be struck between self-fulfilment and their duties to family and children, and their relationship with men. Melanie Phillips' book tells the story of the fight for women's suffrage in a way which sets the high drama of those events in the context of the moral and intellectual ferment that characterised it.