Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Women who changed the world pt 2

"We dont know how it sprang to life, no one explanation is entirely satisfactory, certainly not the theory that it was the work of 'leaders'. It began all over the country, in silent lonely places. It was a spiritual movement and had fire, not form... It released vast stores of unconscious energy... it was not premeditated or controllable - it happened.'
Lady Constance Lytton 1925

WSPU - Women's Social & Political Union

The last couple of days my focus has been on the Suffrogettes. Ive been fascinated by the story of these ladies and what they achieved. I guess my knowledge of them was pretty sketchy and so Ive been reading up a bit and finding out more.
In this blog entry I wanted to focus on the leader of the WSPU (formed 1905), Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst. I like the fact that she is documented as a Mrs, she was afterall a lady, and most of all her party were upperclass ladies.
They were a political group that rallied together after deciding the restrictions and injustices they had seen on women's lives (particularly in the working class) had to change. They focused on winning Votes for Women in parliament, because they believed that this would provide the greatest impetus for change.

By 1907 there were 47 branches of the WSPU and these ladies were getting a bit rowdy. As I said in the last blog entry they were becoming militant (I guess influenced the by the war at the time), entertaining themselves with vandalism and rebellious acts of protest such as hunger strikes in prison. As they gained more power the resistance to their message grew stronger.

Here are several pictures of Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested.

In this picture below is an example of an arrest and imprisonment of Gertrude Bentley for 'chalking the pavement'.
She had written 'WSPU - Mass Meeting at Market Square 7.30 tonight'

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