Despite persistent inequality between men and women in our society, the achievement of women’s right to vote was a big step towards bridging that inequality, moving this country away from the sexism, prejudice and bigotry of an aggressively patriarchal society. Women were legitimate people who deserved a say in politics and an opinion on how the Government should behave. Of course, there isn’t a landmark date on which all women were equally given the vote. In 1918, women over 30 were given the vote whilst the age limit for men was 21, an inequality that was mended in 1928.pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst

Films, television programmes both fictional and non-fictional rightly examine and depict the struggles and campaigning of the Suffragettes. Emmeline Pankhurst and her Women’s Social and Political Union were the loudest and most violent voice to argue for women’s right to vote, setting fire to letter boxes, throwing bricks at the Prime Minister’s house and refusing to let the media ignore them. There was no glossing over or burying the campaign for women’s suffrage, and it’s hard to ignore people when they chain themselves to fences and even die in the name of their cause.1141727_orig

However, I feel that another group is regretfully overlooked in this significant part of history. There’s no denying the Suffragette’s achievements and contribution, but let’s not forget the group they were originally a part of. The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, otherwise known at the Suffragists. In my History A-level, we were taught about these two very different groups and their very separate methods of campaigning for the same goal. They weren’t enemies or rivals by any means, but their differences show how complex and human the fight for women’s suffrage is. Most media these days thinks that strong women have to be superior to men in some way, martial arts experts, sassy and loudly defiant. I’m not saying that these women aren’t strong, but I personally don’t find them very relatable.


Millicent Fawcett

Millicent Fawcett gives us a different view of feminism’s most important fight of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An intellectual feminist, unionist and writer, she believed that the violent actions of the Suffragettes only served to alienate those MPs who were still on the fence about giving women the right to vote. At that time, the main argument against women’s suffrage was that women were too emotionally unstable, irrational, and hysterical to understand or be trusted with any political power. It was for rational, calm and intellectual men to worry about such things. Millicent Fawcett defied this belief with her very presence, with every word she wrote and with her calm, intellectual arguments.

emmeline pankhurst

Feminism is the fight for equality, not the hatred of men. I understand if some women look at the Suffragettes and don’t feel like they can agree with their methods; but Millicent Fawcett and the Suffragists offer another way. Whether you’re a loud, shouty feminist fighting against inequality, or are quiet and prefer to fight prejudice with calm and reasoned arguments, you can find inspiration in our history. Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst both fought in their own ways, and neither of them should be dismissed or ignored for their contribution to our victory. 

About the author

A chronic idiot with a passion for travelling and writing and travel writing, Rosie graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Creative Writing. Whilst she aspires to be the next Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Seuss or E.L. James, Rosie prepares to enter the adult world and become a responsible member of society. Both of her university degrees go toward making terrible jokes, rambling blog posts and reading the popular literature that we all feel obligated to read. When she’s not sat in front of her laptop, Rosie can be found just about anywhere. With Iceland, Thailand, Barcelona and Belgium under her belt, there’s still the rest of the world to experience.

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