Emmeline Pankhurst — leader of the Suffragettes — being arrested outside Buckingham Palace in This included breaking windows, planting bombs, handcuffing themselves to railings and going on hunger strikes. Imprisoned Suffragettes wave through the windows of Holloway Prison, London, in Many protesting Suffragettes were arrested for law-breaking and many went to prison. To stop them from becoming ill, they would often be held down and force-fed by prison staff in a particularly unpleasant procedure!
This meant that hunger-strikers were temporarily released from prison until they recovered — before being re-arrested and locked up again! Emmeline Pankhurst centre and her daughter, Christabel third from the left , are welcomed by friends and supporters after their release from prison in But when the war began, women were needed to lend a hand!
Nine inspiring lessons the suffragettes can teach feminists today
Millions of men had been sent away to fight, leaving vacant jobs that were essential to keeping the country running. A Bill was passed through Parliament that granted some women the right to vote.
They had to be over the age of 30 and own property , or be married to someone who owned property. However, there was still a long way to go until all women had the same voting rights as men — who could vote from the age of 21 regardless of property. There is some divided opinion over the violent tactics the Suffragettes used to spread their message. On several occasions, they were lucky that no one was seriously injured, or even killed, by the bombs they planted.
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They paved the way for future generations of women. Without them, your grandmothers, mums, aunties, friends and sisters — even you! Around the world, including in the UK, men are still likely to be paid more than a woman for doing exactly the same job. And there are many countries today where women still lack basic rights that we take for granted.
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While you wait for it to be checked and approved why not to add a pre-selected message and a cool badge. Hoiiiiiii these are some really good facts I have home to do about the suffragettes that I had to show the head teacher! And I was student of the month! I love it. Thanks National Geographic! Ask a parent or guardian to check it out first and remember to stay safe online. See all. Facts about the suffragettes Discover the political movement that won women the right to vote….
They marched four abreast behind purple banners, urging them all to fight on. There has always been speculation about Davison's intentions. The return train ticket she was carrying, for instance, offered as evidence that she didn't mean to die. But there's no doubt she was prepared to make dangerous sacrifices for women's rights. As Fran Abrams writes in her book Freedom's Cause, Davison had been imprisoned repeatedly for her suffrage work, had gone on hunger strike and been force fed numerous times.
In , when she and a large number of other suffragettes were imprisoned in Holloway, there was what Davison referred to as a siege — the doors of women's cells were broken down by guards — and she determined that one big tragedy might save her sisters. Davison threw herself over a balcony, was caught by some netting, then immediately tried again, launching herself down an iron staircase.
This led to two cracked vertebrae, and a thwack to the head, but the authorities were unmoved. She and the other women continued to be force-fed, regularly and brutally. In a movement defined by acts of daring, Davison's bravery was extraordinary. A hundred years later, votes for women are long since won in most countries — though not all — and the feminist revolution continues. Campaigners worldwide fight for equal political representation, an end to women's poverty, freedom from sexual violence, control over our own bodies, and — ultimately — for that most basic, yet radical, demand: for women to be treated as human beings.
A century after Davison's funeral programme declared "She died for women," what can today's feminists learn from the suffragettes? The dearth of women in public life today is often attributed to a lack of confidence, and the suffragettes sometimes struggled with this too. Margaret Wynne Nevinson, an avid campaigner, once wrote she felt a "dizzy sickness of terror" the first time she stood up to speak publicly, outside a gasworks in south London in There were shouts of derision as hundreds of men crowded around her, and she almost succumbed to stage fright before hearing a voice whisper: "Go it, old gal, you're doing fine, give it 'em.
This echoes the recollections of Kitty Marion, an actor as well as a suffragette.
The first time she sold the Votes for Women newspaper in Piccadilly Circus, Marion wrote, "I felt as if every eye that looked at me was a dagger piercing me through and I wished the ground would open up and swallow me. However, that feeling wore off and I developed into quite a champion.
Women were bound by feminine ideals at the start of the last century — expected to be submissive, nurturing, self-effacing — and we still are today. The suffragettes weren't having it. As Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the militant suffragettes, once said, "We threw away all our conventional notions of what was 'ladylike' and 'good form', and we applied to our methods the one test question: will it help?
This was echoed by Fred Pethick-Lawrence, who fought strongly for women's votes alongside his wife — who was also called Emmeline. In his book, Women's Fight for the Vote , he offered a rallying cry.
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Anyone who writes about feminism online knows there can be a nasty response, and the suffragettes received hate mail too. In Joyce Marlow's essential anthology, Votes for Women, from which many of these recollections are taken, she includes a letter sent to Hugh Franklin, a male suffrage activist, which has a strikingly familiar tone.
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But it wasn't just hate mail they had to contend with. Rats would be let loose into suffrage meetings, while rotten eggs and fish were pelted at the women. Nevinson once wrote that they kept their eyesight largely as a result of the huge hats that were then fashionable, the wide brims saving them "from hard missiles and the cayenne pepper blown at us from bellows". Their detractors were often very powerful. Winston Churchill described the militant movement as a "copious fountain of mendacity", while Arthur Conan Doyle opted for "female hooligans". The only useful response was to take strength from the insults.
The current deputy editor of the New Statesman, Helen Lewis, has written that today "the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism", which mirrors Rebecca West's reflections on events of a century ago. In a male-dominated society, women are often brought up to identify with men, to see men's views and rights as paramount, and so it's not surprising that many women oppose their own liberation. In the suffrage era the most prominent was Queen Victoria, who once wrote a letter stating she was "anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad wicked folly of 'Woman's Rights', with all its attendant horrors, on which [my] poor sex is bent".
There were a number of thriving anti-suffrage groups, including the National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage, run by one Mrs Frederic Harrison, who stated: "Women have to destroy a women's movement. After a meeting of 30, suffragettes in , Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence said she had "never met anyone so fearless as were these young girls. I never saw a suffragette, under menace of violence, otherwise than cool and collected. Such bravery was necessary, as the women often faced serious violence. On 18 November , for instance, a date which became known as Black Friday, Emmeline Pankhurst led women to the House of Commons in a peaceful protest.
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There, they were met by police, and reported being beaten and sexually assaulted. One woman, quoted in Marlow's anthology, said: "Constables and plain-clothes men who were in the crowd passed their arms round me from the back and clutched hold of my breasts in as public a manner as possible, and men in the crowd followed their example … My skirt was lifted up as high as possible, and the constable attempted to lift me off the ground by raising his knee.
This he could not do, so he threw me into the crowd and incited the men to treat me as he wished. Over the course of the militant campaign, around 1, suffragettes were imprisoned in the UK, and many went on hunger strike and had to contend with the torturous process of force feeding. In , the Cat and Mouse Act was brought in, a cruel law which meant suffragettes could hunger strike to the point of emaciation, be let out of prison to recover, recalled to serve a little more of their sentence, on and on, until the term was served.
The suffragettes kept going, despite the opposition and immediate consequences.