In Pictures: Suffragettes |

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In Pictures: Suffragettes

How ordinary women were prepared to go to extreme measures as foot soldiers in a war for equality and the right to vote



As recent as the dawn of the 20th century, a basic and integral right was still being denied to women in Britain: the vote. With no political voice and calls for equal su rage being ignored, more and more women concluded that their only option was direct action. To that end, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was founded by the charismatic Pankhursts in 1903. Its members – the Su ragettes – were willing to face violence, public opposition, prison and unspeakable brutality, all for the same rights as men.



Led by its vocal leader Emmeline Pankhurst (above), the WSPU distances itself both from other su rage groups – which they consider overly moderate – and the social-reforming Labour Party for not prioritising the extension of the vote. WSPU Su ragettes organise their own public disruptions and demonstrations but many are broken up by police, resulting in arrests. These early frustrations lead to the group’s later militancy. Pictured right, Vera Wentworth endures mocking from young boys for advertising a gathering in London with her slogan-emblazoned dress.

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