What The Suffragists Did Next by Mavis Curtis – Published by Amberley Books 2017
Exploring the lives and work of eight of the women who helped promote the cause of women’s equality and the right to vote, this is a truly exceptional book. Educational, certainly; it also made me sad, angry, grateful, disbelieving, indignant, and often just plain stunned, frequently all at the same time.
Praise is due not just for those eight women, their supporters and the men who fought alongside them, but also organisations like the Women’s Institute and The Cooperative movement who were instrumental in changing so many lives for the better.
The inspirational women whose stories are told in this book deserve to be better known and lauded. They lobbied, not just for votes for women but for a “living wage”, universal pensions and other benefits, the ordination of women, an end to FGM, improved rights in marriage and divorce, and greater access to higher education. As a result of their quiet diligence and determination they “paved the way for further equality in society”.
Suffragists were members of the NUWSS (National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies)who wished to obtain the vote through peaceful means. The NUWSS was formed in 1897 (by the joining together of other women’s suffrage groups) and led by Millicent Fawcett. After WWI it focused on a campaign to equalise suffrage.
Suffragettes were members of the relatively short lived WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) whose motto was ‘Deeds Not Words’. Its members campaigned for women’s suffrage from 1903 to 1917 under the leadership of and rules set by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters.