Emmeline Pankhurst Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1858 – 1928 *** Full Name: Emmeline Pankhurst was also known as Emmeline Goulden *** Date of Birth (Birthday): Emmeline Pankhurst was born on July 15, 1858 *** Place of Birth: Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester, England *** Family background: Her father was Robert Goulden *** Early life and childhood: Emmeline Pankhurst grew up and spent the majority of her life in Manchester *** Education: Emmeline Pankhurst received an education at the École Normale de Neuilly in Paris *** Emmeline Pankhurst died on June 14, 1928 ***
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 1: Emmeline Goulden was born in Manchester, England on July 15, 1858. Despite the birth date stated on her birth certificate, she believed her birthday was on July 14. Her surname changed from Goulden when she married a barrister called Richard Pankhurst in 1879.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 2: She was a British leader of the suffragette movement and a political activist. Emmeline Pankhurst contributed greatly towards earning women the right to vote in Great Britain.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 3: Her parents were called Robert Goulden and Sophia Jane Craine, they were both political activists who supported female suffrage. Emmeline Pankhurst had nine younger sisters and brothers. She attended her first women's suffrage meeting at the age of 14.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 4: Emmeline Pankhurst studied at the École Normale de Neuilly in Paris. Following her return to Great Britain, she met her future husband, Dr Richard Pankhurst. He was a barrister who was 24 years older than her. The couple married on December 18, 1879.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 5: Richard and Emmeline Pankhurst had five children together. Their names were Christabel, Sylvia, Adela, Frank and Harry. Their son, Frank, sadly died during childhood.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 6: Her husband supported her work towards the suffragette movement. He was encouraging and helped her to create an organisation called the Women's Franchise League. The WFL aimed to secure the right for women of Great Britain to vote.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 7: Emmeline Pankhurst visited Switzerland in 1898 with her eldest daughter Christabel. During their trip, she received a telegram from her husband which read, 'I am not well. Please come home, my love.' Emmeline Pankhurst returned to Great Britain straight away. Unfortunate, she arrived too late to see him before his death. Whilst travelling from London to Manchester by train on July 5, 1898, she learned of her husband's death from a newspaper article.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 8: Emmeline Pankhurst formed a new organisation in 1903 which concentrated solely on gaining women the right to vote. The group was known as the WSPU, an abbreviated name which stood for the Women's Social and Political Union. The organisation's slogan became, 'Deeds Not Words.'
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 9: The WSPU were soon named the 'Suffragettes' by the Daily Mail newspaper. The group held rallies and confronted politicians. Members of the group were arrested on several occasions. Emmeline Pankhurst was first imprisoned in 1908.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 10: The Suffragettes protested and continued getting into trouble with the law which led to their arrest and imprisonment. In 1909, members that were imprisoned started to participate in hunger strikes. Officers used violent tactics to force the Suffragettes to eat. Many who engaged in the hunger strikes were allowed to leave prison early, including Emmeline Pankhurst who had been imprisoned for hurling a rock at the residence of Great Britain's Prime Minister in 1912.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 11: The Prisoners’ Temporary Discharge for Ill Health Act was introduced in 1913. The Act permitted the re-arrest of prisons that had been released from prison early to recover from ill health. Once they had recuperated, they could be re-arrested. This circle of events became known as the 'Cat and Mouse Act' with the 'Cat' representing the authorities who would pursue the 'Mouse' which was represented by members of the Suffragettes.Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 17: Following increased concerns brought about by Bolshevism, she joined the Conservative party. In 1927, she was selected as a Conservative Party candidate for Stepney.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 12: The outbreak of the First World War provoked many changes for women. Emmeline Pankhurst persuaded women to take the jobs of men in Great Britain so that they could go to war in order to fight for their country. Women became involved in the war effort and filled jobs in factories across the country.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 13: Britain's government decided to release all prisoners of the Women's Social and Political Union so that they could contribute towards the war effort and work whilst the men were away fighting. These efforts led to the government's decision to allow ‘certain’ women the right to vote.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 14: The Representation of the People Act of 1918 was introduced in Great Britain. It was the first act to include women in the political system. For women aged 30 years and over, who met a property requirement, the right to vote was granted. The required voting age for men was 21. The government did not want men to become minority voters. Their decision to set different age requirements, based on gender, was influenced by the additional pressure of the increased death toll of men caused by WWI.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 15: Her daughters, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela, joined the Women's Social and Political Union. However, only Christabel truly shared the same outlook as her mother. Sylvia and Adela didn't agree on certain aspects. Sylvia became a socialist and Adela moved to Australia following a rift with her mother.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 16: Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter, Christabel, were important contributors towards the White Feather Movement. They campaigned in order to shame men into enlisting with the British Army. They handed out feathers to men who were not wearing an army uniform. The white feather symbolized cowardice.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 18: She was devastated when she learned that her daughter, Sylvia, had given birth to a baby out of wedlock. The child was named 'Richard Keir Pethick Pankhurst' after Emmeline's husband and Sylvia's father. Sylvia declared that marriage without legal union was the best choice for a liberated woman. Emmeline Pankhurst was saddened by this news
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 19: Her health began to deteriorate, she suffered from illness and exhaustion. She moved to a nursing home in London. She died at the age of 69 on June 14, 1928. She was laid to rest at Brompton Cemetery in London.
Emmeline Pankhurst Fact 20: On July 2, 1928, just a few weeks after the death of Emmeline Pankhurst, the Representation of the People Act 1928 declared that all women over the age of 21 were entitled to vote in Great Britain.
Influence and Legacy: Emmeline Pankhurst was a woman of strength and character. She was a political activist and leader of the suffragette movement in Great Britain. She contributed significantly towards gaining women of Great Britain their right to vote.
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