Women should not take their vote for granted– especially when learning that the right to vote resulted from women dying– for this right.
The 2015 movie Suffragette depicts 20th century Britain, when women’s rights were completely ignored by the media and politicians. Frustrated with protests, suffragettes turned to window breaking and arson to have their voice heard, which it wasn’t. They were only imprisoned and scapegoated.
The escalating violence– and what women lost in the process– their marriages, their homes, their jobs, and one woman in particular– her life.
Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep portrays real life suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, who inspires the characters in the film, but is not a central character in it.
Although, when she was 45 in 1903, she founded what became the women’s suffrage movement, giving speeches that encouraged militant action. Between 1908-1914 she was imprisoned 13 times. She was released after going on hunger strikes but was continuously pursued.
In 1913, she said: “Militancy has brought woman suffrage where we want it, that is, to the forefront of practical politics. That’s the justification for it.”
Renowned and award winning actress Helena Bonham Carter’s character was named after suffragette Edith Garrud, who taught women self-defense through jiu-jitsu. Her methods became known as “suffrajitsu.”
The woman, however, whose act was heard around the world, was Emily Wilding Davison, whose definitive act made international news at the Epsom Derby in June 1913.
It still took another 15 years, but what she did spawned an international movement, which resulted in voting rights being granted to women in the U.K. in 1928, and later throughout the world.
But women in America achieved the right to vote earlier than their British cousins as their rights came to fruition on August 18, 1920, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
On the state level, Wyoming was the first state to grant voting rights to women, and to elect the nation’s first female governor.