feimineach.com

About 10 days behind on blogging. No chance of catching up at this stage. Anyway, this on the guardian:

On 4 June 1913, Emily Wilding Davison travelled to Epsom Downs to watch the Derby, carrying two suffrage flags – one rolled tight in her hand, the other wrapped around her body, hidden beneath her coat. She waited at Tattenham Corner as the horses streamed past, then squeezed through the railings and made an apparent grab for the reins of the king’s horse, Anmer. In the Manchester Guardian the next day, an eyewitness reported: “The horse fell on the woman and kicked out furiously”. News footage shows racegoers surging on to the track to find out what had happened.

Davison suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding, and as hate mail against her poured in to the hospital, she remained unconscious. She died four days later. Thousands of suffragettes turned out on the London streets dressed in white, bearing laurel wreaths for her funeral. They marched four abreast behind purple banners, urging them all to fight on.

There has always been speculation about Davison’s intentions. The return train ticket she was carrying, for instance, offered as evidence that she didn’t mean to die. But there’s no doubt she was prepared to make dangerous sacrifices for women’s rights. As Fran Abrams writes in her book Freedom’s Cause, Davison had been imprisoned repeatedly for her suffrage work, had gone on hunger strike and been force fed numerous times.

[…]

Find your voice, and use it

The dearth of women in public life today is often attributed to a lack of confidence, and the suffragettes sometimes struggled with this too. Margaret Wynne Nevinson, an avid campaigner, once wrote she felt a “dizzy sickness of terror” the first time she stood up to speak publicly, outside a gasworks in south London in 1906. There were shouts of derision as hundreds of men crowded around her, and she almost succumbed to stage fright before hearing a voice whisper: “Go it, old gal, you’re doing fine, give it ‘em.”

This echoes the recollections of Kitty Marion, an actor as well as a suffragette. The first time she sold the Votes for Women newspaper in Piccadilly Circus, Marion wrote, “I felt as if every eye that looked at me was a dagger piercing me through and I wished the ground would open up and swallow me. However, that feeling wore off and I developed into quite a champion.”

Sweetness is overrated

Women were bound by feminine ideals at the start of the last century – expected to be submissive, nurturing, self-effacing – and we still are today. The suffragettes weren’t having it. As Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the militant suffragettes, once said, “We threw away all our conventional notions of what was 'ladylike’ and 'good form’, and we applied to our methods the one test question: will it help?”

This was echoed by Fred Pethick-Lawrence, who fought strongly for women’s votes alongside his wife – who was also called Emmeline. In his 1911 book, Women’s Fight for the Vote, he offered a rallying cry. “Nothing has done more to retard the progress of the human race than the exaltation of submission into a high and noble virtue,” he wrote. “It may often be expedient to submit; it may even sometimes be morally right to do so in order to avoid a greater evil; but submission is not inherently beautiful – it is generally cowardly and frequently morally wrong.”

(Rest on the guardian)