Emmeline Pankhurst: Facts About the Suffragette Leader

Here are some facts about Emmeline Pankhurst.

  • Emmeline Pankhurst was a leader of the suffragette movement and a political activist. She has been described as being one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
  • The suffragettes were focused on securing women’s rights, especially the right to vote. As well as campaigning, they often broke the law or chained themselves to railings to protest.

  • Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester in 1858. She attended school in Paris and married a barrister more than 20 years older than her, who was involved in securing rights for women.

Emmeline Pankhurst

  • In 1886 Pankhurst was involved with the strike of girls working in the Bryant and May match factory. The girls worked 14 hours a day and were fined for dropping matches on the floor.
  • She was also concerned with the conditions in workhouses in Manchester. She began organizing meetings in the local park, which were soon declared to be illegal.
  • Emmeline was arrested on many occasions although often released because of poor health. She sometimes refused to eat and was force fed. She started wearing a disguise to avoid arrest.
  • During World War 1, Pankhurst was very aware of the threat posed by Germany. She formed the Women’s Party which called for serious food rationing and the closing down of non-essential industries to beat Germany.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst moved to Canada in 1922, saying the country had more equality for women than England. After a few years she grew tired of the cold winters and ran out of money.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst died in 1928. Soon after women were given equal voting rights as men. She was buried at Brompton Cemetery in London, one of the country’s oldest garden cemeteries.
  • In 1987 her Manchester home was opened as the Pankhurst Centre, a meeting place for women. The National Portrait Gallery added her portrait to their collection in 1929.

What next? Discover some facts about Emily Davison, another famous suffragette.

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