The suffragettes: a women's movement divided by class

10:00am Sunday 19 September

About this session

This session is available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

Every British teenage girl is taught that our right to vote was won by aristocrat ladies such as Emily Wilding Davidson who bravely threw herself under the King’s horse in the 1913 Derby to raise awareness of the suffrage movement. The central message peddled about the campaign is that change was won by the actions of a small, heroic band applying passive resistance and moral pressure – the same message peddled about every successful struggle, from the fight to end slavery through the movement for Indian independence to the Civil Rights Movement. 

Whilst it is certainly true that the British ruling class meted out vicious brutality to women of their own class including the violent torture of force feeding in response to their hunger strikes, this version of history is as distorted as the story of any other inspirational movement. This meeting will explore the hidden history of working class mass struggle for the vote, the bitter splits and divisions amongst even the Pankhurst  family and the betrayals of the Suffragette leaders at the outset of World War 1. 

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