Women: The female protesters against giving women the vote

07 February, 2018, 01:31 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Warrington Guardian

Tuesday marks 100 years since some British women were first guaranteed the right to vote.

However over the next ten years laws were introduced that eliminated women's rights from serving on juries, working after marriage, and working in industry.

'Labour in government will both pardon the Suffragettes and give an official apology for the miscarriages of justice and wider persecution they suffered'.

Amber Rudd has thrown her backing behind a proposal from the Fawcett Society and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to give posthumous pardons to suffragettes.

In 1897, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was formed by Millicent Fawcett, who wanted to win the vote by using non-militant tactics - non-violent demonstrations, petitions and lobbying of MPs were the kinds of things she had in mind.

"They [the anti-suffrage images] are portraying the suffragettes as being absolute harridans, slovenly housewives, appalling mothers, that they were ugly, that they looked like men, that they were lesbians", says Ms Atherton.

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The Representation of the People Act 1918 allowed women over the age of 30 and all men to vote, enfranchising around eight million British women.

"If we did not have the suffragettes doing what they did, then we would never have got the vote and privileges that we have today, and I think we need to remember today how fortunate we are".

"We see today from different places in the world where countries are opening up to democracy and people can vote for the first time, just how enthusiastic they are with long queues at polling stations, and it must have been the same a hundred years ago in this country when women were taking part and voting for the very first time".

In the years that followed the act, legislation which affected women's equality and rights went through Parliament touching on everything from maternal and infant health, to divorce reform and employment.

"In terms of pardoning for arson, that is a little trickier".

But 21st-century feminists should not be dissuaded, she added, as there are "many parallels" with women's campaigns today.

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Her granddaughter said women needed to fight against the perception that they should not battle for equality.

She was released three days later, but when she inspired other suffragettes to do the same, it led to the introduction of forcible feeding.

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The academic said there was "common ground" between Suffragism and groups such as the recent #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

She called for greater action by social media companies to clamp down on abuse, and announced a review of the law relating to online offensive communications.

For the first time, many mothers, daughters and sisters could have a say in how their country was run.

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Fear of such attacks prompted museums to request women leave their bags and coats in cloakrooms, to stop activists concealing weapons, but a century on the Suffragettes have themselves become exhibition subjects.

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