Emmeline Pankhurst

 Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester in the north of England in 1858. Back then, British women couldn’t vote in elections, but men could. Em­meline went to school in Paris, France. As she grew up, she became interested in politics and wanted to create a more equal society for women and men. She wanted women to have the same rights as men, such as the right to an education, the right to have a good job and, perhaps most im­portantly, the right to vote.

 In 1888, the girls who worked at the Bryant and May match facto­ry in London went on strike. They stopped working and asked the own­er of the factory to improve their terrible working conditions.

They worked 14 hours a day and were fined for dropping matches on the floor. Many of the girls were ill because they worked with danger­ous chemicals. Emmeline supported the strike.

Emmeline formed The Women’s Social and Political Union, also called the Suffragettes in 1903. The Suffragettes were a group who fought for women’s rights, especial­ly the right to vote. They published a newspaper called Votes for Wom­en which sold 20,000 copies a week.

The Suffragettes further held demonstrations, and they often broke the law by smashing windows or chaining themselves to fences to protest. In 1913, a Suffragette called Emily Davison was killed when she threw herself under the king’s horse at a famous horse race as a protest because the govern­ment refused to give women the right to vote.

In 1918, the British Government gave women aged over 30 the right to vote, although men could vote when they were 21. Women were finally allowed to vote at the same age as men shortly after.

Emmeline died on 14 June 1928. Emmeline Pankhurst is sometimes described as one of the most influ ­ential people of the 20th century.

Source: www.britishcouncil.org/ learnenglishkids

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