Today Google – and the Guardian – celebrate the birthday of the great suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, and reminds us of the the amazing lengths women at the beginning of the twentieth century went to to win the vote.
Of all the Pankhursts my own favourite was Sylvia – her mother and sister were in many respects conservatives and Sylvia was the more radical, particularly during and after World War I. And we should remember not just the leaders, but the un-named women who fought for the vote. However, no one can doubt Emmeline Pankhurst’s courage and commitment, and if you want an indication of both, and an example of a powerful speech, read her “Freedom or Death” speech given at Hartford, Connecticut on November 13 1913.
At the same time, you might consider the barriers still faced by women when reading about debates in the Church of England concerning female bishops or the news about David Cameron’s appointment of women to the Cabinet. Suffrage, it seems, was just the beginning of a long struggle for equality.