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Showing posts from August, 2013

Mrs Pankhurst and the Double Standard

When Mrs Pankhurst sought to justify WSPU militancy, she often did so by drawing attention to a double standard that accepted men’s militancy but criticised women’s. “The smashing of windows is a time-honoured method of showing displeasure in a political situation,” she said, adding, “When Englishmen do it, it is regarded as an honest expression of political opinion…when Englishwomen do it, it is treated as a crime.”    Mrs Pankhurst served a term in prison in 1908 for inciting disorder during a deputation to the House of Commons. After her release from Holloway, she insisted on the suffragettes’ right to be regarded as political prisoners , not common criminals, and directed WSPU members to refuse to co-operate with prison rules unless this was granted. It was this demand that led hundreds of women to adopt the hunger strike.    Yet the WSPU frequently argued that the Government was prepared to grant male activists political status and tolerate their violence and incitement of o