Chapter 9 Inequalities in the United Kingdom: the Progressive Era, 1890s–1920s
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Inequalities of income, gender and race became prominent from the 1890s and survived into the twenty-first century. Surveys showed extensive poverty, due mainly to low pay and insecure work, causing protest and the first state welfare measures from 1906. Wealth was concentrated among few people, mainly in finance and business in London. Poverty and inequality fell during the Second World War, but revived due to the Depression from 1920. Women campaigned for greater equality, especially for the vote, with increasing militancy before 1914. In 1918 they gained the vote, still unequally with men, but used it through the 1920s to gain some improvements in occupational and legal inequalities. Immigrants from the British Empire legally had full rights in Britain, but ‘colored’ imperial immigrants faced racist hostility. Immigration of Jewish refugees from Russia created anti-Semitism and, from 1905, tighter restrictions on non-imperial migrants. Protest brought some modifications of these inequalities, but they long continued.

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