In the nineteenth
century women had
no place in national
They could not stand
as candidates for
were not even
allowed to vote.
A woman's role was
raising children and
taking care of the
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
EMMELINE PANKHURSTEMMELINE PANKHURST
She studied in Paris and
at the age of 20, she
married Dr Richard
Pankhurst, a liberal
lawyer 24 years her
Dr Pankhurst was a
socialist and a supporter
of radical causes,
including women's rights
and had a place of great
respect in the
WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND
WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND
Mrs Pankhurst believed that young working
class women would draw attention to the
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
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
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
In a period of eighteen months,
Emmeline Pankhurst, who was
50 years old, endured 10 of
these hunger strikes.
EMILY DAVIDSONEMILY DAVIDSON
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
The first horse missed
her, but she ran right
into the track of the
King’s horse and died.
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votes for women had been replaced by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.
THE PANKHURSTS PROVIDED A STRONG
EXAMPLE OF WOMEN FIGHTING FOR WOMEN'S
RIGHTS. THIS HAS INSPIRED FEMINISTS AND
WOMEN POLITICIANS EVER SINCE.