Helping children of all ages and all genders find inspiration and courage from diverse women role models is key to education. And teaching children and young adolescents to actively question and openly challenge stereotypes and bias is important because it helps forge a more inclusive world. As a school we decided we would look at the life and work of diverse women role models. Year 1 chose Emmeline Pankhurst who in 1903, helped found the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) – an organisation that gained much notoriety for its activities and whose members were the first to be christened ‘The Suffragettes’. British politicians, press and public were astonished by the demonstrations, window smashing, arson and hunger strikes of the suffragettes.
Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions over the next few years and went on hunger strike herself, resulting in violent force-feeding. In 1913, in response to the wave of hunger strikes, the government passed what became known as the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act.
In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).
The education of children about gender equality issues is an important means by which we can all #PressforProgress.
Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day successful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” So from now on, lets make International Women’s Day a day to do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.
We did a presentation on the life and politics of Emmeline Pankhurst!
We made signs that Suffragettes would have made.
We created a poster to help tell the rest of the school who she was and why she was so important.
DEEDS NOT WORDS!