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Showing posts from December, 2019

You Daughters of Freedom by Clare Wright

In my last blog, I looked at the question of the British press’s “boycott” of the suffragette movement. The piece was prompted by my reading of Clare Wright’s You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians who won the vote and inspired the world (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2018). So in this blog, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about the book.   Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. The author’s style is direct, even forthright – you are never in any doubt about where she stands on any of the issues raised! It was fascinating to read about the suffrage campaign from an international and colonial perspective. In addition, I particularly liked the biographical approach which focussed on the stories of individual women such as Nellie Martel, Dora Montefiore, Muriel Mattters and Vida Goldstein.  WSPU Leaders c 1906-7. Left to right: Flora Drummond, Christabel Pankhurst, Jessie Kenney, Nellie Martel, Emmeline Pankhurst, Charlotte Despard.   At times, though, I though

The Suffragettes and the Press Boycott

When Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney were sent to prison in 1905 after interrupting a Liberal politicians’ meeting in Manchester, one of the victories they claimed was that for the first time in years the press had taken notice of the women’s suffrage movement. The point of the protest – and of much of the militancy over the next few years – was to get noticed, and according to Christabel Pankhurst, it worked. She and Annie “had certainly broken the Press silence on votes for women.” [1]   She also referred to stories that pressmen actually got together and agreed amongst themselves that they would ignore women’s suffrage, adding that these “rumours were false or else the agreements broke down”. [2] But after 1905 she said, referring to a meeting she and her mother had had with the representative of an unidentified newspaper, “Never again was the cause ignored by that or any other newspaper”. Mrs Pankhurst reiterated in 1909 that the WSPU had “broken down the press b