Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the most important and revolutionary figures behind the suffragist movement. Her contributions were made specifically in England, but the influence of her actions was felt all over the world for years and years to come.
1. Political Involvement
Emmeline Pankhurst joined the Conservative Party in 1925 in London and was very involved in politics for throughout her life. She became a candidate for the party in 1925 in the East End of London.
2. Importance of Education
Emmeline Pankhurst’s parents had very radical political views, but their opinion of schooling and how children should be raised was far from radical. As they wanted to make sure that their daughter had the best education possible, they sent Emmeline to Paris to attend finishing school at the age of 15.
3. Co-Founder of The Women’s Social and Political Union
Emmeline Pankhurst and a few other women founded The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. The organization was a militant group of women whose mission was to secure more rights for women in general and they were willing to take on drastic measures to make sure those rights were granted. Emmeline’s two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, helped her found the group.
4. Political Progress For Women
The WSPU knew that in order to make political progress for women, they needed to hold the media’s attention. After a short while, because the media began to lose interest in the group, they resorted to different methods to get attention from the media. As they knew that people were getting bored reading and writing about their group, they took more drastic actions; specifically, they started to burn down politician’s homes.
5. Poor Law Guardian
Emmeline Pankhurst was a Poor Law Guardian in 1895; one of her responsibilities was to visit the local workhouse regularly. Upon seeing the terrible conditions in which women lived in the local workhouses, she was inspired and convinced that suffrage was the solution to the problem.
Emmeline was married to Richard, but he died when they were both still relatively young in 1898. He died of a perforated ulcer and the event devastated Emmeline. Richard was a 44 and Emmeline was 20 when they met.
7. Champion of Women
Emmeline Pankhurst was a champion for women in England and all over the world who wanted more rights and privileges. She was very disappointed by the efforts of the Liberal Party, the Fabian Society and the Independent Labour Party to secure rights for women. Because the other political parties weren’t being proactive enough, she founded her own movement, the Women’s Social and Political Union.
8. Passing on Political Passion
Christabel, who was her oldest daughter, was also a suffragist and believed at times that her mother was too passive and conservative in securing rights for women. Sylvia, another daughter, was also an influential suffragist and wrote several books on the subject as well as her mother’s biography.
9. Militant Approach
While Emmeline was often criticized for her militant approach to suffrage, she was considered a very important figure in the movement and helped women all over Britain obtain more rights and privileges. There is some dispute as to whether she did more harm than good for her cause.
Action was very important to Emmeline and that was one of the most important aspects of the WSPU movement. She didn’t believe that discussing rights and liberties would ever accomplish anything and that something needed to be done to secure the rights they were looking for. She is considered by many women all over the world and as a champion for the cause of women everywhere.