Votes for Women in Plymouth: Lesson Five

Votes for Women in Plymouth: Lesson Five - Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst was the leader of the Suffragettes. Because she was a violent protester, she was arrested seven times before women were allowed to vote. One of the times she was arrested was in Sutton Harbour in Plymouth, after travelling back to England from America. But Mrs Pankhurst wasn’t just famous as a violent protestor, she was also celebrated as a public speaker. Some the rights she was fighting for included:

  • Women to get the vote
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Equal access to healthcare and widow support

The suffragettes did try to kill people, using things such as bombs, fire and objects they could throw. Luckily, they never caused any fatalities. What do you think about this? Was violence the answer in the case of the Suffragettes, or did they do more harm than good?

EP poster #1
EP poster #2

Activity 1 Most of the archival materials you’ve seen so far have been about non-violent protest. The Suffragettes were different though and advocated for violent protest. Write a list of the positives and negatives about violent protest. Is there anything good that can be said for it?

Activity 2 Women activists still campaign today for issues they believe in. From climate change to gender pay gaps, they continue to be inspired by the Suffragettes and suffragists. You can hear some of their stories by listening to the Rebellious Sounds Archive. Choose a couple of stories that interest you the most. What is the person fighting for and how effective are their methods?

What issues do you feel most strongly about? Now that you know about some of the ways people campaigned for votes for women, how would you approach campaigning for an issue that was important to you?