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Political and Social Movements

Suffragist Movement

Who was Emmeline Pankhurst?

Pankhurst (1858–1928), a key figure in the women’s suffrage movement, was a militant reformer who waged a decades-long battle to win the vote for women in Great Britain. Pankhurst’s sometimes radical campaign greatly influenced her American counterparts. Though she held various municipal offices and was married to an influential barrister (Richard Marsden Pankhurst), she worked for change primarily through the organizations she founded. In 1889 she organized the Women’s Franchise League, and five years later the group’s work secured the right of all women (married and unmarried) to vote in local elections. She went on to found the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903. The union was known for its extreme tactics. The British suffragist movement culminated in 1928 with the passage of the Representation of the People Act, which gave all women the right to vote in elections. Pankhurst died later that year.



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