Women-Suffrage

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July 19th 1848: Seneca Falls convenes

On this day in 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights convened in New York state. A pivotal moment in the history of first wave feminism, the event was organised by feminist campaigners Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Mott and Stanton, both abolitionists, were inspired to hold the convention when their gender barred them from speaking at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. The 1848 convention was attended by over two hundred women. On the first day, Stanton read the ‘Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances’ to the attendees, a document which closely followed the 1776 Declaration of Independence, placing women’s rights at the centre of notions of American freedom and equality. As the original declaration listed American grievances with the British throne, so did Stanton’s detail men’s crimes against women, which included denial of the ‘inalienable right’ to vote, unfair marriage laws, and unequal education and work opportunities. On the convention’s second day, men were invited to attend and address the crowd, the most prominent of whom was black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Indeed, Douglass eloquently argued for the inclusion of female suffrage in the convention’s resolutions, a measure which was backed by Stanton but opposed by Mott. Seneca Falls galvanised the incipient women’s rights movement, and was followed by annual women’s rights conventions. Female suffrage was finally granted in 1920, with Charlotte Woodward Pierce being the only signer of the Declaration of Sentiments living to see this achievement. 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal”
- Declaration of Sentiments

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An Illustrated Ode To Jessie Craigen: A Queer, Ugly, Working-Class Suffragist

Jessie Craigen was a mess. She struggled to support herself financially, inspired snickering comments about her appearance and nursed an embarrassingly unrequited love for another woman. She was vocal in her passions, unrelenting in her judgment and fierce in her loyalty. Today, she’s lucky if she’s mentioned in a footnote about working-class women in the British suffrage movement.


To me, she’s a hero.

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Today’s Google Doodle: Ida B. Wells!

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing that it was often used as a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites, rather than being based on criminal acts by blacks, as was usually claimed by white mobs. 

She was active in women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician and traveled internationally on lecture tours.”

See the interactive Doodle here

Ida B. Wells on Wikipedia

Ida B. Wells on the Bio Channel - lots of videos!

“Feminism and the Schoolboy”

In 1929, a teacher – identified only as “a Woman Teacher in a Boys’ School” – penned a column for The Guardian.

How many, for instance, even of the men who count themselves enlightened and who have sincerely welcomed the appearance of women in public life are not thoroughly disturbed at the first real conception that comes to them of what equality would mean in their own homes? Disturbed is too mild a term. Men shrink from the idea that a woman is entitled to live her own life; that her entity is her own as much after marriage as before, and that it is her prerogative and duty to pursue her own personal development irrespective of her husband and her children. The whole problem, indeed, of the home relationship of the sexes is so difficult, and it is so much complicated by purely economic considerations, that a fundamental change in outlook can only come very gradually. The period of waiting need not be unduly prolonged, for in our educational system, if they will only use it, women have at hand an incomparable means of destroying the old prejudices from which they have suffered so long and of building up a new outlook which will insist above everything upon freedom of others as well as for ourselves.

A Chance for Teachers.
The training of boys, and indeed the whole question of their general education, is a matter in which women have a direct interest. There are few women with educational experience of any value to-day who are not convinced that if our boys are to be brought up with a broader outlook, with minds free from prejudice in their attitude to the opposite sex and generously tolerant of its new claims, some vital changes must be made. And perhaps none is so necessary as the introduction into every boys’ school of at least one mistress holding a senior and responsible position on the staff. For the woman exercises a function in school that is impossible for anyone else to perform.

Read the whole thing.

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The most arduous media stunt was the “Suffrage Hike” or “pilgrimage” to Wilson’s first Inauguration in the winter of 1913. Organized by millionaire heiress Rosalie Jones, the hike coincided with a large parade that Alice Paul of the more radical Congressional Union was staging to confront Wilson and Congress on the issue. Elisabeth was engaged to be the official speaker on the trip and drove the literature wagon. She was dressed as a gypsy, a traditional follower of “pilgrimages” and she offered to read palms and tell fortunes as a way of attracting a crowd. The stunt garnered full page coverage in every town along the way, but at great physical and emotional cost. The women arrived in Washington DC exhausted and discouraged, and were a fairly insignificant part of the giant parade which attracted sometimes violent detractors. Still, the hikers engaged the public, causing much excitement, especially among students.

From this site, the “Suffrage Hikes” were a interesting way for women to participate in the suffrage movement.

This pictures are provided by the Library of Congress, as are these newspaper accounts of their journey. Talk about some badass women of history…

Kate Parry Frye (1878-1959)

Operating from 321 Roman Rd, Sylvia Pankhurst’s ‘East London Federation of Suffragettes’ is the most famous of the groups in the East End who backed George Lansbury, the Labour MP, when he resigned his Bromley & Bow seat to fight a by-election on the ‘Votes for Women’ issue in the autumn of 1912. Yet, also knocking on doors and holding meetings was the ‘New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage’ about which very little was known, until now.

Read more here.

Suffragettes with Flag, Circa 1910 (by John McNab)

Photo shows women suffrage hikers General Rosalie Jones, Jessie Stubbs, and Colonel Ida Craft, who is wearing a bag labeled “Votes for Women pilgrim leaflets” and carrying a banner with a notice for a “Woman Suffrage Party. Mass meeting. Opera House. Brooklyn Academy of Music. January 9th at 8:15 p.m.” with speakers Rev. Anna Shaw, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, and Max Eastman.“

Mrs. William Wagar, a society woman, slugged a masher while wheeling her baby. The masher, Frank Tyndall, tried to flirt with her and later endeavored to throw his arms around her.

“I gave him uppercuts and tripped him,” she told the policeman who arrested Tyndall. When the officer arrived on the scene, the man was lying in the gutter, Mrs. Wagar was kneeling on his body and was punching him in the face. Tyndall was fined and sent to the workhouse.

July 25, 1906

American Suffragists did not call themselves “Suffragettes.“

If you are talking about the American Women’s Suffrage Movement, the term used to describe the women is “suffragist(s)” NOT “suffragette(s).” “Suffragette(s)” was a term used to degrade the suffragists and make the movement sound frivolous. The only suffragists who reclaimed the term were the radical suffragettes, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) founded by the Pankhurst women, in England.

The only Americans who used the term “suffragette” were the women who worked in England with the WSPU, however they did NOT bring the term back with them to the US. They would sometime use it when writing to each other but it was not used in suffrage publications.

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Alice Paul is the leading lady of the day. She is great according to one of my followers. Alice fought for women suffrage starting a campaign that lead to the 19th amendment to the constitution which gave women the right to vote.

This woman is especially important because she was one of the first to stand up and say that women are important to, that is why she is the Leading Lady of the day !