As a father of three daughters I have a new found and growing interest in women’s rights and the issues that may affect my girls as they grow. So, it was with interest that I listened to a friend of mine recently tell me that her great aunt was Emmeline Pankhurst. This friend was interested to know whether I knew who Pankhurst was, as she was surprised by how few people she had met who actually didn’t, including a number of teachers.
Now, I believed I did know who she was, but as it happens I turned out to be incorrect, though I was at least in the right ballpark. I had thought that Pankhurst was the suffragette who had thrown herself under the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913 but my friend explained that she was actually the leader of the British suffragette movement and it was another suffragette, Emily Davison, who was the person who had thrown herself under the King’s horse.
Having been reminded of this snippet of information I’ve decided to share it and this blog piece is my own small way of attempting to remind and inform some of my readers of these important women and the role they played in making life more equal for women.
It has been much debated whether the actions of Emily Davison that day did much for moving women’s rights forwards, but it is fair to say that it was the kind of action that got noticed. It raised the profile of an issue, with the kind of audience who this individual wanted paying attention and it created a memorable story (even if the names aren’t accurately remembered) for those who heard about it later.
I know that issues of women’s rights can still engender fierce debate these days, not least in the online communities many of us spend time with, and it is my hope that the issue remains on the agenda, for as we can see all around us, there are still many times and places where women have to fight hard for some of the most basic of rights.