Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes
At the beginning of the 20th century, women did not have the right to vote in Britain, one of the world’s leading democracies of the time. This desire for suffrage led to a bitter and often violent struggle between Britain’s government and its women. Arguably the most recognisable women’s activist group was The Suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Pankhurst was an effective leader of the often violent and militant group. She employed a number of different tactics in stages, and she herself led by example in many situations.
The Suffragette movement are best known for their violent tactics; however, Emmeline Pankhurst led them through three distinct stages of their campaign. The first (1903-05) was a stage of peaceful protest. The second (1905-14) was known as the violent phase. The final stage (1914-18) was a period of active and dedicated support to the British government in fighting the war. These changes in tactics were an example of exceptional leadership as Pankhurst went to every extent possible to make her cause known and force the government to do something about it.
Pankhurst was also an active member of the suffragettes. She led by example in many situations. “Emmeline Pankhurst, fragile in appearance but stronger than any of them, was ever in the forefront of the action.” ‘Sunday Telegraph, August 8, 1993.’ On March 1, 1911 Mrs Pankhurst threw four stones through the window of 10 Downing Street and was arrested. Whilst in jail, Pankhurst demanded that all other Suffragettes arrested would also be treated as political prisoners, she was told no and thus went on a hunger strike until they were. Many other women followed Pankhurst’s example and refused to eat.
Many people are divided as to whether Emmeline Pankhurst was or was not an effective leader. Though it goes without saying Mrs Pankhurst put her life on the line for her cause. Her willingness to do whatever it took was clear and...
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