Our suffragette from across the sea, Emmeline Pankhurst.
After years of seeing women’s voting rights bills creep through Parliament, Pankhurst decided to take women’s suffrage to a whole new level. When yet another suffrage bill suffered from filibustering, Pankhurst and members of the WSPU protested outside of Parliament. Pankhurst realized she could use military tactics to generate greater public awareness of her cause. That’s when she decided to take things to the next level.
Pankhurst’s tactics escalated between 1905-1908. She was finally arrested in February 1908 for attempting to enter Parliament in order to deliver a protest resolution to the Prime Minister. Although she made complaints of the vermin, food, treatment, and conditions Pankhurst saw her imprisonment as a means to publicize the suffrage movement. She would go on to be arrested seven more times before women’s suffrage was approved.
Pankhurst’s tactics were extreme, but they demonstrated the extreme situation women found themselves in. Emmeline Pankhurst recognized the need to improve women’s place in society and she was willing to sacrifice her personal wellbeing in order to do so. Her actions galvanized the suffrage movement in England and inspired a new generation of suffragettes in America.