Photo via here
Have you seen the new film "Suffragette" starring Carey Muligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep? I saw it last night and was moved to tears. It tells a story that many people don't know about -- the movement in England in 1912, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, to obtain equality and votes for women. You may remember the brilliant television series "Shoulder to Shoulder" from many years ago which was about this same topic. Women in Britain became frustrated by the lack of progress they were making in obtaining the vote. The laws were made exclusively by men and women had no rights. Upon marriage a woman's property became her husband's and, if she separated from him, her children became his as well. She had absolutely no rights regarding them. For impoverished women, the situation was a nightmare. They worked endless hours in horrible conditions and for little wages; they had to tolerate sexual harassment from men with absolutely no recourse.
When Carey Mulligan's character tells the chief of police of the abuses that she and others have suffered under their male supervisor, he tells her that no one will care what she has to say because she is nothing. And in the eyes of men, that was literally the truth. As Pankhurst concluded, women would have to become militant and partake in violence to draw attention to their battle for the right to vote. After all, nothing had worked up until then. They blew up mail boxes and smashed windows, never harming people, but destroying property. Many of them were incarcerated and went on hunger strikes. They were force fed. This movie tells the story of a group of working class women who got involved in the movement and their contribution to the eventual victory in the fight for women's votes. The cast is fabulous and the story is riveting. I highly recommend it.
Photo via here
This photo (above) is a portrait of the stars of the film, including two members of the Pankhurst family (second and third from the left on the top row), that was taken for International Women's Day which will be celebrated in March. Go here to read more.
I hope you get a chance to see this important film. It will remind you of the brave women who fought and sacrificed for the many rights and freedoms we take for granted today.