We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers. – remembering the mighty women who have taken courageous action for the right to voteEmmeline Pankhurst, the influential leader of the British Suffrage Movement, was born on this day in 1858. Time Magazine named her as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century, stating that "she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back."
In 1903, Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, an all-women suffrage advocacy organization dedicated to "deeds, not words" and known for its militant tactics on behalf of women’s rights. Pankhurst, along with her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, was arrested on numerous occasions and participated in prison hunger strikes, often resulting in violent force-feeding. In the incident pictured on the left here, she was arrested outside of Buckingham Palace while trying to present a petition to King George V in 1914. Such protest tactics were famously referenced in the film "Mary Poppins" with the line, "Take heart, for Mrs. Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!"
In response to critiques of their tactics, Pankhurst once replied, "We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers." When WWI broke out, she devoted her energies to supporting the war effort while continuing to advocate for women’s suffrage. Pankhurst died in 1928 only weeks before the Representation of People Act gave all women over 21 years of age equal voting rights with men in the UK.
To read Emmeline Pankhurst’s own account of the struggle for women’s suffrage, check out her autobiography, "My Own Story," at amzn.to/1Sm1GMv
The film "Suffragette" brilliantly tells one woman’s fight for equality as part of the British Suffrage Movement — recommended for ages 13 and up, at www.amightygirl.com/suffragette
For books for children and teens about the women’s suffrage movement in the UK, US and Canada, visit our Women’s History section at amgrl.co/2DUGGgh
And, for hundreds of true stories for children and teens about female trailblazers who wouldn’t let their voices be silenced, visit our “Role Model" biography” section at amgrl.co/2wRJudE… See MoreSee Less