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As Britain Celebrates Century of Women’s Vote, Many See Much More to Do

Ms. Brandler said, “Women have moved closer to the glass ceiling, but a woman has to be twice as good to be equal to a man.”

The irony of the BBC’s coverage was not lost on some British viewers, who criticized the broadcaster on Twitter for covering the centenary even, they said, as it denied some of its female employees the same salaries as their male counterparts.

Britain’s suffragist movement emerged in the late 19th century, when Parliament extended the franchise to greater swaths of the male population while continuing to deny it to women. The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, made up mostly of middle-class women, was formed in 1897, eventually becoming the biggest suffrage organization, with 50,000 members

Originally, under the leadership of Fawcett, the movement was largely moderate. But it eventually split, with a more militant faction, the Women’s Social and Political Union, forming under by Pankhurst.


A British suffragist, Charlotte Despard, a prominent member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, speaking in Trafalgar Square in 1910. Credit Press Association, via Associated Press

Pankhurst, who was arrested numerous times, led angry street demonstrations at which hundreds of suffragists were arrested. Beginning around 1910, their tactics became quite violent, including arson attacks and the bombing of the house belonging to the chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George.

One suffragist, Mary Richardson, slashed a painting at the National Gallery in London with a meat cleaver. A Sikh princess, Sophia Duleep Singh, threw herself in front of the prime minister’s car.

Those actions have stoked a debate lately over whether the women should be considered “terrorists.” The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed that issue on Tuesday, pledging to pardon them posthumously if he ever claims the prime ministership.

Earlier in the day, the original Representation of the People Act was wheeled out in Parliament for the first time. And in Manchester, birthplace of the suffragist movement, Prime Minister Theresa May talked about the women who “persevered in spite of all danger and discouragement because they knew their cause was right.”

Mrs. May also appeared in Parliament for a photograph with all of its more than 200 female members.

Meanwhile, the Scottish leader, Nicola Sturgeon, announced a half a $ 700,000 fund to encourage more women to enter politics. The government also said it was spending more than $ 1.4 million to finance a similar effort.

Source: NYT > World

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