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Emmeline Pankhurst

By Mahek Chandak

The HERO proved actions speak louder than words

Spearheading the campaign for women to get the vote in Britain, this leader made an impact on the lives of women worldwide.

Rebel with a cause

In 1858, Emmeline Goulden was born into a family of political activists. She married Richard Pankhurst, a supporter of women’s equality.

Later she set up the WOMEN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE to campaign for female suffrage (the right for women to vote).

Suffragette sisterhood

In 1903, Pankhurst set up the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) to fight for equality and the vote. A newspaper called the female members 'suffragettes', and the name stuck. 'Deeds not Words' was their motto, with suffragettes smashing windows and chaining themselves to railings to raise awareness of their cause.

A cartoon showing a suffragette being force-fed to break her hunger strike.

The Hunger Games

Many suffragettes were sent to prison, where they went on hunger strikes for their cause. When World War I broke out in 1914, Pankhurst changed focus. She encouraged British women to take jobs in factories and farms, so men could fight on the front line.

A Victory for Voters

The suffragettes’ tactics began to work. British women over 30 were given the right to vote in 1918. Women in the USA could vote by 1920, and other countries soon followed. Pankhurst died in 1928, shortly after British women were given the same voting rights as men, as the law changed so that everyone over 21 could vote.


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