The Suffragists

The women’s suffrage movement was the struggle for the right for women to vote in parliamentary elections and to stand as candidates for Parliament.

From the 19th century, women in Britain campaigned, worked and fought for their rights as individuals, for economic and political equality, and for social reforms. Women from Greater Manchester were crucial to the campaign to change voting laws so that women would be allowed to vote.

The suffragists and the suffragettes adopted two very different approaches to campaigning for the vote.

In Manchester, the very high profile role of Emmeline Pankhurst and the more militant activities of the suffragettes can sometimes overshadow others who campaigned for suffrage. Despite the suffragettes being more infamous, members of the suffragists aligned party, NUWSS (National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies) had more members. Historians still debate how much each movement contributed to some women getting the vote in 1918. It was not necessarily an either or situation as both movements did work together. Often, suffragettes would become disillusioned with the level of violence adopted by the party or with Emmeline Pankhurst’s autocratic management style and become suffragists as a result.

In the Game Changers project each young people’s group focused on a suffragist from their borough. There was an array of women who campaigned peacefully for women’s rights. Whether it was through local politics, committees, giving speeches, writing poetry, supporting the war effort, working with others, these women were able to use their own unique skills, talents, opportunities and situations in life to build the foundations of pressure that would eventually lead to national law change.

Although these women had such little legal power, they did not see themselves as powerless. Instead they were all able to use the power that they did have, not violent power, but a different, peaceful power that brough change and justice to the country.


The Power of Local Politics

Mary Barnes, Bolton.

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The Power of Women’s Role in WWI

Hilda Openshaw, Bury.

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The Power of Speeches

Hannah Mitchell, Trafford.

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The Power of Politics

Dame Sarah Lees, Oldham.

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The Power of Working Together

The Women’s Co-op Guild, Rochdale.

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The Power of Poetry

Eva Gore Booth, Salford.

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The Power of Working Women

Hannah Winbolt, Stockport.

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The Power of Committee

Bertha Mason, Tameside.

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The Power of Innovation

Lady Pethick Lawrence, Trafford.

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The Power of Being the Change

Martha Hogg, Wigan.

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