Women in Prominent Roles
Emmeline Pankhurst was a key figure in the women's suffrage movement. Pankhurst, alongside her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, founded and led the Women's Social and Political Union, and organisation which was focused on direct action to win the vote. Her husband, Richard Pankhurst, also supported women suffrage ideas since he was the author of the first British woman suffrage bill and the Married Women’s Property Acts in 1870 and 1882. After her husband’s death, Emmeline decided to move to the forefront of the suffrage battle. Along with her two daughters, Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia Pankhurst, she joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). With her experience with this organisation, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League in 1889 and the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. Frustrated with years of government inactivity and false promises, the WSPU adopted a militant stance, which was so influential it was later imported into suffrage struggles worldwide, most notably by Alice Paul in the United States. After many years of struggle and adversity, women finally gained suffrage but Emmeline died shortly after this.
Another key figure was Millicent Fawcett. She had a peaceful approach to issues presented to the organisations and the way to get points across to society. She supported the Married Women's Property Act and the social purity campaign. Two events influenced her to become even more involved: her husband’s death and the division of the suffrage movement over the issue of affiliation with political parties. Millicent, who supported staying independent of political parties, made sure that the parts separated came together to become stronger by working together. Because of her actions, she was made president of the NUWSS. In 1910–1912, she supported a bill to give vote rights to single and widowed females of a household. By supporting the British in World War I, she thought women would be recognised as a prominent part of Europe and deserved basic rights such as voting. Millicent Fawcett came from a radical family. Her sister was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson an English physician and feminist, and the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain. Elizabeth was elected mayor of Aldeburgh in 1908 and gave speeches for suffrage.
Emily Davies became an editor of a feminist publication, Englishwoman's Journal. She expressed her feminist ideas on paper and was also a major supporter and influential figure during the twentieth century. In addition to suffrage, she supported more rights for women such as access to education. She wrote works and had power with words. She wrote texts such as Thoughts on Some Questions Relating to Women in 1910 and Higher Education for Women in 1866. She was a large supporter in the times where organisations were trying to reach people for a change. With her was a friend named Barbara Bodichon who also published articles and books such as Women and Work (1857), Enfranchisement of Women (1866), and Objections to the Enfranchisement of Women (1866), and American Diary in 1872.
Famous quotes containing the words women in, roles, women and/or prominent:
“England produces under favorable conditions of ease and culture the finest women in the world. And, as the men are affectionate and true-hearted, the women inspire and refine them.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Modern women are squeezed between the devil and the deep blue sea, and there are no lifeboats out there in the form of public policies designed to help these women combine their roles as mothers and as workers.”
—Sylvia Ann Hewitt (20th century)
“I had heard so much about how hard it was supposed to be that, when they were little, I thought it would be horrible when they got married and left. But thats silly you know. . . . By the time they grow up, they change and you change. Eventually, theyre not the same little kids and youre not the same mother. Its as if everything just falls into a pattern and youre ready.”
—Anonymous Mother. As quoted in Women of a Certain Age, by Lillian B. Rubin, ch. 2 (1979)
“The tremendous outflow of intellectuals that formed such a prominent part of the general exodus from Soviet Russia in the first years of the Bolshevist Revolution seems today like the wanderings of some mythical tribe whose bird-signs and moon-signs I now retrieve from the desert dust.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)