Pankhurst and Militant Suffragist

A: Emily Pankhurst was a British Political activist and leader of the woman’s suffragist movement that took the world by storm in the beginning of the 20th century. She was raised in Manchester, England and was introduced to the suffragist movement (by her very politically active parents) before her tenth birthday. From this time forward, her life was dedicated to getting women the right to vote.

C: This was written in 1913, right around the heyday for womens’ rights activism. At this point in time there were many people fighting for womens rights in both America and England. Over the next 15 years the movement would gain steam, and women would begin to gain the right to vote (among other rights) all across the world.

L: The language used is very inflammatory. Pankhurst refers to herself as a “soldier that has left the field of battle”, referring to the fact that men and women are locked in fierce conflict over these withheld rights. She tells the men that they have two options: to kill all the women, or to give them their rights.

A: This is written to all of the men in America and Britain that are against giving women the right to vote.

I: She wants all of the men to understand what the women are feeling like: very under appreciated and, frankly, looked down upon. She is writing to make sure they understand that she is coming across the aisle and extending an olive branch to the men before she makes very drastic steps in her process. She is offering them the chance to end their conflict now before the disagreement gets ugly.

M: She is telling the men to not let their disagreement go on any further. If they keep on fighting the women, it will hold all of them back, not just the women. If they give the women the right to vote, however, they will all be able to move forward together in peace and harmony.

4 thoughts on “Pankhurst and Militant Suffragist

  1. It’s quite interesting to see the discrepancy between this selection and the one we had for Wednesday by Beeton. Both are women, their works separated by less than 50 years, and yet their views could not be further separated. It is perhaps Beeton’s work and the subservience of women it inspired, that caused Pankhurst to respond in such a vehement fashion. I was rather surprised Pankhurst did not address submissive women as well as men.

  2. I strongly agree with the comment above. I also think it’s important to note that her husband was a lawyer and an avid supporter of the women’s suffrage movement. This was radically different from what Beeton wrote about and what many men and women believed was proper belief at the time. The support of her husband, which was deemed so radical at the time, may have been what perpetuated her message to men.

  3. To further the comparison of Pankhurst and Beeton, I found it rather interesting that both authors make military references, despite their opposite stances on women’s societal positions. Beeton likens a woman’s position the household to a commander of an army. Meanwhile, Pankhurst mentions that she is a soldier amidst a civil war, one who is fighting for women’s suffrage.

  4. The idea that women are needed for society to progress is an historically famous discussion. If one looks at society one will see that it is made up of at least 50 percent women, and if they are not being given the same voice, rights, and important jobs as men then this society is only going to be 50 percent as successful as it could be if women were an active part of its progress. I think it is also important to note that Emmeline Pankhurst’s audience includes women, she is just as much a leader and voice for women suffragists as she is a “soldier” appealing to men on behalf of women and their rights. In addition, I think she is also speaking to the women of her era that still did not believe or want equal voice and voting rights with men, she is appealing to them by being an example of change and not being submissive.

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