Jill Liddington
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The Census Bill and the boycott plan
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The Census Committee civil servants polished the questions that would be asked of households, to give the information that welfare reformers needed. The census would now ask for each married woman: how many children born alive to the current marriage, how many still living and how many had died. The census schedule would be completed and signed by ‘the Head of Family’, usually the husband. So women, till then merely deprived of a vote, were now deprived of a voice: their husband held the pen to record their experienced of childbirth and child deaths. Insult was thus added to injury. Although unaware of the devil in the census detail, the WFL was alert to the coming census. In summer 1910 it planned a census conference, inviting the many suffrage organizations. Meanwhile, in July Asquith's cabinet shelved the Conciliation Bill ~ where it joined the cobwebs among previous such suffrage bills. ‘So another hope is killed’, lamented Henry Nevinson sadly in his diary. Was this one more reason to boycott the coming census?

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Vanishing for the vote

Suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census


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