Arrested, imprisoned, humiliated, force fed, attacked by the press... nevertheless they persisted 💪🏼
100 years ago today, on 6th February 1918, the first wave of British women won the right to vote. To celebrate Vote100, here’s some of the badass, brave and brilliant women who got us there:
Flora Drummond, AKA ‘The General’
This is Flora Drummond, otherwise known as ‘The General.’ Drummond was repeatedly arrested for protesting the right to vote, including in her first trimester of pregnancy and after chaining herself to the railings outside Downing Street.
Here she is smiling while being arrested (above) and standing on a boat she’d hired to invite ministers to a Votes For Women rally as they sat on the Westminster Terrace having drinks. What a dude.
Despard was the Anglo-Irish founder of the Women’s Freedom League who campaigned passionately for the rights of women, the poor and the oppressed. A Guardian article written in 1924 to mark Mrs Despard’s 79th birthday said that ‘never was there a more valiant soul, nor one more quick in sympathy for people who are poor or oppressed or unhappy. She was inevitably a leader and sufferer in the suffrage campaign. It used to be said that the London police always disliked having to intervene at demonstrations in which she took part because she took all the risks there were, and they were always afraid that she would break.’
But, the article went on, ‘the appearance of physical fragility was combined with one of spiritual force.’ Here she is in the 1930s – when she was in her late eighties – making an anti–fascist speech in Trafalgar Square.
Rose Lamartine Yates
Daisy and Una Dugdale
Emily Wilding Davison
The Pankhursts: Emmeline, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela
A suffragette family to be reckoned with, Emmeline and her daughters Christabel, Sylvia and Adela were the leaders and standard-bearers of the suffragette movement, frequently leading by example and putting themselves in the firing line.
Above is a shot of Emmeline and Christabel in prison uniform during a spell inside Holloway, and here’s Sylvia being arrested by police in Trafalgar Square:
‘You must make women count as much as men; you must have an equal standard of morals; and the only way to enforce that is through giving women political power so that you can get that equal moral standard registered in the laws of the country. It is the only way’ wrote Emmeline Pankhurst, who believed that only violent protest would make the government listen.
‘One baby is a patient baby, and waits indefinitely until its mother is ready to feed it. The other baby is an impatient baby and cries lustily, screams and kicks and makes everybody unpleasant until it is fed. Well, we know perfectly well which baby is attended to first. That is the whole history of politics.’