In 2018, Britain is celebrating the centenary of a major milestone in the suffragette movement's fight to obtain votes for women, which was led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia and Christabel. Emmeline Pankhurst's great-granddaughter, Dr Helen Pankhurst, is giving two talks in Paris: "From 'Votes for Women' to 'Time's Up', Reflections on feminism in Britain, past, present and future".
The Pankhursts were at the forefront of the movement that led to the first British women being able to vote as the First World War drew to a close. Only those aged 30 and above, and who owned property, obtained the vote but a breech had been opened. Ten years later, women and men would have equal voting rights.
And yet, there are many ways in which equality is still not complete. Not least in Westminster where those iconoclastic laws were passed: the House of Commons still only has 32% of women MPs, even though that is at a historic high, and Britain has had two women Prime Ministers. That ranks the UK only 41st in the world in terms of gender parity according to the International Parliamentary Union. Ironic for an institution that calls itself "the mother of parliaments".
Dr Pankhurst continues her great-grandmother and grandmother's struggle. She is development charity CARE International UK's Special Adviser on Gender Equality. She is active in campaigns such as the March4Women and the MeToo and associated Time’s Up campaigns against sexual harassment and for gender equality.
She recently published Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women's Rights - Then and Now, which takes its title from a famous suffragette slogan.
Sign up for one of the free talks:
From "Votes for Women" to "Time's Up", Reflections on feminism in Britain, past, present and future
Thursday 12 July, 7 p.m.
9 rue de Constantine
Friday 13 July, 6 p.m.
Université d'été en Sorbonne
17 rue de la Sorbonne
You’ll find a sequence on Emmeline Pankhurst
in Speakeasy Activities 4e.
Emmeline Pankhurst and daughters Christabel and Sylvia at Waterloo Station. Imperial War Museum
Manchester High School for Girls