In 2018 we celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which for the first time saw some women gain the vote, and was a key step towards female emancipation in the UK and universal suffrage across the globe. Throughout this year there are events taking place to mark this important anniversary and a great number of books published, both factual and fiction which will help our younger generation understand the huge achievement in this the Centenary year of the Suffrage movement. Find our favourite titles in this special section.
Three Cheers for Women is a hugely inspirational book for children. It is full of facts, quotes and jokes brought together in a really fun way to ensure you remember them. You may even feel having read about some of these women that one of them was you in an earlier life? Joan of Arc perhaps - the teenage warrior, Florence Nightingale or even Marie Curie - probably the most famous female scientist of the 19th & 20th century. This book could even be the catalyst to what you want to be when you grow up - a pioneer and adventurer, a leader and world-changer, a scientist that finds a cure for cancer or an environmentalist that stops global warming Marcia Williams' much-loved comic-strip style will encourage even the most reluctant reader to enjoy this inspirational book packed with facts, quotes and jokes. So be inspired by these incredible women and think beyond the ordinary.
Of all the books about the campaign for women’s suffrage in this the centenary year of some women being given the vote, David Roberts’s is the most beautiful to look at. In full page illustrations, vignettes and individual portraits, he brings the movement alive, portraying vividly the women and men involved, as well as the drama, frustration and endurance, violence and cruelty that were all part of the struggle. And though he’s best known for his illustrations, the text is as every bit as powerful as the pictures, meticulously and graphically detailing the words and the deeds that finally brought about change, and the roles of the many different people who played a part. The story he tells is one of the most inspiring of our times, still relevant today, and this book is a brilliant way to discover it.
Brings the past brilliantly to life and introduces inspirational women to today's girls. Historically strong, this is a dramatic story with a real sense of atmosphere which in turn sheds an impressively wide light on the social and economic picture of its time. Girls for the Vote was originally published as Polly's March.
1913. Mary and Christine have different views about Votes for Women , but that doesn't stop them from becoming penfriends. In their letters, the girls try to make sense of the suffragettes, from smashing windows to blowing up golf courses. Then Christine's cousin sneaks out one night, and the fight for the vote is on the girls' doorsteps.
In a nutshell: vivid, lively and inspiring suffragette story Mollie Carberry is one of the liveliest characters you will read: a vivacious, intelligent young girl growing up in a comfortably-off family Dublin in 1912, and a suffragette. The book opens in fact with her reassuring a friend ‘I am not in prison’ having recently broken the law for the cause. Political campaigning has to fit in with school and housework, but Mollie is determined to play her part. The story is told through her letters which gives the novel a terrific immediacy and intimacy – Mollie is great fun to be with. Carey also creates a real sense of the times, imperceptibly filling her book with a great deal of historical facts, and giving a real sense of the urgency and excitement of the suffragette movement. This book should get your vote! Readers will also enjoy Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls, and Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Trailblazers, campaigners, pioneers and creators A beautifully illustrated, empowering and inspiring collection of the extraordinary achievements of over 100 amazing and inspirational women of our time who have become trailblazers, campaigners, pioneers and creators including the likes of JK Rowling, Rosalind Franklin, Beyonce Knowles, Marie Curie, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel and Serena Williams. A beautiful package that rejoices in the remarkable and crucial contributions women have made to our society.
It’s impossible not to be inspired by this picture book and the great women featured in it: their stories are told across bright spreads, which are enticing to look at, and packed with information all presented in a way that will make readers excited about the remarkable achievements described. It’s a varied line up of subjects, including a scientist, a writer, an athlete, an explorer and fashion designer alongside civil rights campaigner and even secret agent! Each page explains what these pioneering women did, and shows that everyone has the potential to change the world – just follow your heart and don’t listen when people say you can’t do something!
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | February 2018 Book of the Month This inspirational novel about three young Suffragettes from very different backgrounds is at once a riveting character-driven read, and an outstandingly rich account of British social history between 1914 and 1917. Seventeen-year-old Evelyn is exasperated by the unfairness of a society in which her academically disinterested brother is afforded the expensive privilege of going up to Oxford while her genuine desire to broaden her mind is dismissed as pointless. “These university women lead very sad lives, I'd hoped for better things for you - a husband, and a family, and a home of your own,” her mother poo-poo’s. But, shirking familial disapproval, Evelyn joins the Suffragette movement and finds herself at the heart of a highly-charged rally, with serious repercussions. Then there’s May, a flamboyant fifteen-year-old who revels in being different and is encouraged to do so by her liberal Quaker mother. May is also a passionate Suffragette, and passionate, too, about Nell, a working class girl from Poplar. The flowering of their love and lust is brilliantly portrayed, as is the contrast between their respective backgrounds. Then, the political conflict of WWI heralds personal conflicts for the three young women, not least when Nell’s desire to contribute to the war effort angers pacifist May. The nature and struggles of masculinity are also excellently explored through, for example, Nell’s brother who wrestles with "feeling much less of a man than he should be”. This novel is the perfect tribute to the incredible women who blazed a trail during the early twentieth century, and its inspirational scope and storytelling excellence cannot be praised enough. I loved it. ~ Joanne Owen
It's 1909. Dollie is swept up in the thrill of the campaign for Votes for Women. Against her guardian's wishes, she marches against Parliament with Emmeline Pankhurst and fellow suffragettes. Things turn violent, women are imprisoned and endanger their lives with hunger strikes. Dollie must decide how far she will go for 'Deeds, not words'...
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2018 Award- winning Megan Rix has a rare gift for putting dogs at the centre of important moments in history. Here, in a story set in 1910, Alfie and his dog Rascal play a leading role in the battle to get women the vote. Alfie is the ward of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragettes. When he rescues the cute little puppy Rascal after he has been abandoned on the street, the two of them take on the dangerous and exciting job of delivering messages for the suffragettes. It’s a roller-coaster adventure told with warmth and a true understanding of the special role a dog can play. ~ Julia Eccleshare Download an Emmeline Activity Pack here! Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2018 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by by Mem Fox Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie Doherty The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
Stella has always looked forward to changing the world. It's what she was brought up to do, by a suffragette mother who knew all about fighting and rebellion. But it's November 1918. The great flu pandemic sweeping the world has robbed Stella of her mother and her home, and she's alone in a strange country, with an aunt she's never met. But change is coming - the war is over, and women are about to vote for the first time. History is being made, but how can she help make it? As election day approaches, a day that will transform Ireland forever, Stella realises that she can indeed change the world. Not alone, and not all at once. But just as stars come one by one to brighten the night sky, so history is made person by person, girl by girl.
The inspirational story of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragette movement, is told vividly and succinctly in this illustrated. Emmeline was a girl who loved reading and dreamed about all the things she wanted to do. Only because Emmeline was a girl, unlike her brothers she couldn’t go to university, get a job, or even vote; the unfairness will be striking to children. The book follows Emmeline throughout her fight for women’s rights showing what hard work it was, and how long it took. A young Emmeline stares out at us from the cover, hands on hips, while the last page shows her as a little girl again, dreaming of the day that all women would have the vote. Stirring stuff, and Emmeline’s determination and character shine through. A great book to put into the hands of young people with big dreams. ~ Andrea Reece
Prior to the Representation of the People Act 1918 women played no part in national politics; they could not stand as candidates in Parliament nor could they vote. From the late 19th century there was an growing campagin for women's suffrage, partly influenced by the success of similar campaigns overseas, and led by women who were increasingly frustrated by the social and economic constraints the suffered.
In 1897 a number of local suffrage societies united to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Society under the leadership of Millicent Fawcett. Using peaceful tactics they petitioned the government and held non-violent demonstrations to draw support for their cause.
The more radical members grew impatient with this approach and in 1903 Emmmeline Pankhurst founded a new organisation, the Women's Social and Political Union - the Daily Mail dubbed them The Suffragettes. The motto of the Sufragettes was deeds not words and this new organisation became more militant and violent; they chained themselves to railings, caused extensive criminal damage and ran bombing campaigns.
By 1909 the WSPU had branches all over the country and published a newspaper called Votes for Women. Over this period about 1000 suffragettes were imprisoned for a variety of public order offences, some prisoners staging hunger strikes to lobby to be considered as political prisoners. Some of these prisoners were force-fed and kept in dreadful conditions. Their poor treatment won increasing sympathy from the public, which grew further as many of the WSPU and NUWSS suspended their campaigning at the outbreak of the First World War and eagerly took up many traditional male roles.
On 6th February the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed which gave the vote to all men and some women (who owned property) over the age of 30. By 1928 suffrage was extended to all women over the age of 21.
Throughout the year there are events taking place across the country; here are a small selection.
The Museum of London has a full programme of lectures, special events and an exhibition with personal stories from lesser known suffragettes, with iconic objects from the Museum collection including Emmeline's Pankhurst's hunger strike medal.
Suffrage 18 at LSE - a rich events programme including lectures, family activity days, exhibitions and more.
100 Banners - Partnering with museums, archives and arts organisations across Greater London, Digital Drama have created 100 Banners inspired by the suffrage banner collection to be part of various commemorations including the March4Women and the WOW Festival at the Southbank.
The Pankhurst Centre, Manchester - the birthplace of the Suffragette movement, with a small museum and women's community centre.
You might also be interested in the film Suffragette, staring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.
The Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst Memorial at Victoria Tower Gardens, near the Palace of Westminster.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.