The whole month of March is dedicated to women’s history; providing an opportunity to remember the subjugation and suffrage achievements of womenkind.
Despite representing half of the world’s population, women have often been treated as second-class citizens. Thankfully, the last century have seen a mass emancipation of women but it did not come easy and it’s more important than ever to remember the struggles that women faced.
2020 marks 107 years since Emily Davidson walked in front of, and was subsequently killed by, the King’ Horse at The Derby. She had not meant to commit suicide, but her actions shocked the UK to the core.
Davidson was a radical but a fiercely important one. She was imprisoned eight times, went on hunger strike seven times, and was forcibly fed forty-nine times. She was a risk taker who knew that her actions, in the cause of democracy, might have fatal consequences. On three occasions, she even hid overnight in the Palace of Westminster.
Upon her death she became a martyr, with her funeral seeing a procession of 5,000 suffragettes and 50,000 people lining the route of her coffin through London.
Five years later, the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 was passed, allowing women to be elected to parliament and 10 years later, the Representation of the People Act 1928 was passed, ensuring universal suffrage for those aged 21 and over.
In the United States, 2020 marks 100 years since women became enfranchised via the ratification of 19th Amendment. However, due to the federalist nature of the US, the right for women to vote was dependent on the state one lived in and it wasn’t until 1984 that Mississippi became the final state to ratify the amendment.