Pankhurst Family

The name Pankhurst more than any other is associated with the struggle for women's right to vote. Emmeline and her daughter Christabel Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union, the leading militant organisation campaigning for women's suffrage. Their movement was crucial in gaining women equal voting rights to men.

Emmeline Pankhust

Date of Birth: 14 July 1858

Date of Death: 14 June 1928

Emmeline and her daughter Christabel were among the founders of the Suffragette movement. In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League. In 1903 she followed this by founding the Women's Social and Political Union. Her radical actions, carried out to draw attention to the movement, led to her being imprisoned several times. On various occasions she went on hunger strike and was force-fed.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Emmeline supported the war effort. She urged women to take over men's jobs so that they could go and fight. With the Prime Minister's support she staged a parade of 30,000 women to encourage employers to take them on in industry. Her supporters handed white feathers, signifying cowardice, to every man they saw in civilian dress to shame them into enlisting.

In 1918, partially in response to campaigning by the women's suffrage movement, the Representation of the People's Act gave voting rights to women over 30 with property. In November of 1918 women over 21 were given the right to become Members of Parliament. Then in 1928 women finally received equal voting rights to men. Emmeline Pankhurst died ten years later at the age of 69. She is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

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