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The British Suffragettes

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Suffragists and suffragettes in Britain

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The British Suffragettes

  1. 1. THEBRITISH SUFFRAGETES
  2. 2. BACKGROUNDBACKGROUND  In the nineteenth century women had no place in national politics.  They could not stand as candidates for Parliament. They were not even allowed to vote.  A woman's role was raising children and taking care of the home.
  3. 3. SUFFRAGISTSSUFFRAGISTS  A group of feminists started a movement for women's rights called “The Cause”. It had no particular political focus.  The first suffragists movements wanted the vote for middle class women. They believed they would achieve it using peaceful tactics - non-violent demonstrations and petitions to the Parliament.
  4. 4. SUFFRAGETTESSUFFRAGETTES
  5. 5. EMMELINE PANKHURSTEMMELINE PANKHURST  She studied in Paris and at the age of 20, she married Dr Richard Pankhurst, a liberal lawyer 24 years her senior.  Dr Pankhurst was a socialist and a supporter of radical causes, including women's rights and had a place of great respect in the Independent Labour Party.
  6. 6. WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION  Mrs Pankhurst believed that young working class women would draw attention to the cause.  Her daughters, Sylvia and Christabel, also joined the group.  The motto of the suffragettes was deeds not words and from 1912 onwards they became more militant and violent in their methods of campaign.
  7. 7. WSPUWSPU  As peaceful methods didn’t seem to work, the W.S.P.U. began to break the law to gain publicity and support.  They disrupted political meetings of leading Liberal politicians and harassed MP’s.  They began a campaign of vandalism – smashing shop windows, painted slogans on buildings, cut telephone wires and slashed paintings in art galleries.  They chained themselves to railings near Parliament in London.  They set fire to letter boxes and empty public buildings
  8. 8.  Many women were imprisoned for breaking the law.  Whilst in prison some women went on hunger strike to draw attention to their campaign.  The prison authorities fed these women by force, although this was dangerous to their health.  In a period of eighteen months, Emmeline Pankhurst, who was 50 years old, endured 10 of these hunger strikes.
  9. 9. EMILY DAVIDSONEMILY DAVIDSON  On 4th of June 1913 the famous Derby horse race was run at Epsom Racecourse.  King George V and Queen Mary were there as the King’s horse, was running in the race.  During the race a suffragette named Emily Davidson passed under the rails and rushed on to the racecourse to attract attention on women’s protests The first horse missed her, but she ran right into the track of the King’s horse and died.
  10. 10. In 1914, when the war broke out, Emmeline Pankhurst stopped the campaign and urged women to support the war instead. In 1918, many of the MPs who had opposed votes for women had been replaced by younger men who supported it and things started to change.
  11. 11. THE PANKHURSTS PROVIDED A STRONG EXAMPLE OF WOMEN FIGHTING FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS. THIS HAS INSPIRED FEMINISTS AND WOMEN POLITICIANS EVER SINCE.

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