While waiting in the doctors surgery, with my 92 year old mother, I came across an article on the Suffragettes in this year’s February issue of Country Life, which contained a neat summary of the timescale involved from the movements conception in 1832 to completion in 1918. To do the maths for you that totals 86 years.
This chronological list of dates was called ‘The road to victory’ and contained 12 key dates as follows:-
1832 – First petition to parliament demanding women’s rights presented by MP Henry Hunt on behalf of Mary Smith of Yorkshire.
1866 - Second petition to parliament.
1867 – Third petition to parliament.
1897 - Millicent Garrett Fawcett sets up National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS)
1903 - Emmeline Pankhurst breaks away from NUWSS to form the more radical Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)
1906 – The term Suffragette appears in print for the first time.
1909 – Suffragette Marion Wallace Dunlop goes on hunger strike in prison and is force feed.
1910 - ‘Black Friday’ protests break out in reaction to Conciliation Bill which would have permitted some women to vote.
1912 – The Parliamentary Franchise (Women) Bill narrowly defeated leading to widespread unrest.
1913 – WSPU member Emily Wilding Davison kill under King’s horse at Epsom.
1914 – Suffragettes and Suffragists pause campaign to help war effort.
1918 – The Representation of the People Act gave women of property over 30 the right to vote but all men over 21.
Now if you add in two further dates as below the total time taken from the start of the suffragettes movement to all women being able to vote who are over 18 is 137 years.
1928 – Women over 21 get the right to vote.
1969 – Men and women over 18 get the right to vote.
It is a constant theme of mine to point out that the enactment of THA’s six demands is going to take time and it is essential we don’t strike out too quickly or early before we have a groundswell of popular support. That the progress is slow is of course frustrating but if we are not to fade away altogether then we must go at a steady pace and importantly keep THA pilot light still burning.
There is however one key ingredient we have that our forefathers never had and that is the Internet to help spread the word and is something we really need to develop with the help of our supporters.