Cambridge Women and the Struggle for the Vote
- Sue Slack
15th September 2018
Cambridge was at the forefront of the struggle for women to get the right to vote in Britain a century ago. Millicent Fawcett, who later became the national leader of the non-militant Suffragists and arguably one of the most influential women in Britain of the last 100 years, lived in Cambridge and founded the Cambridge Women’s Suffrage Association, and leading militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst also gave talks at riotous meetings in the city.
Author Sue Slack has been researching the archives in Cambridge to write this account of the role that Cambridge women played in the struggle for votes for women from the late nineteenth century to the first Act of Parliament in 1918 that granted women over the age of thirty the right to the vote and the Act of 1928 that gave women equal voting rights to men. Alongside the famous names are accounts of the many other roles that women of Cambridge took up in the fight for the right to vote. Many were involved in work during the First World War, including the founder of the Save the Children Fund; others were Pacifists. Some joined the International Women’s Suffrage League. Many led local welfare and education reform after the war or founded local groups such as the WI or Girl Guides, and others went on to become the first women MPs, barristers, magistrates and surgeons in the country.
This fascinating survey of Cambridge’s role at the heart of the women’s suffrage movement includes contemporary photographs and newspaper stories that are not widely known today.