100 years on since the Suffragette and their movement won women the right to vote. Something that we may take for granted today was fought for with great vigour to ensure women had an equal say.
To commemorate the 100 years of the historical Representation of the People Act 1918, a 7ft bronze sculpture of a shoe factory machinist, Alice Hawkins, who led the suffrage movement in Leicester, has been unveiled in the city.
Alice Hawkins' great-grandson, Peter Barratt shared, “Alice and the other women were often heckled by the crowd but today we have been here to cheer Alice on. We have always been strong in our belief that if we could get the statue of Alice here in the market place, it would not only be of 'Alice Hawkins, Suffragette', but it would also be representational of working class women who worked such long hours but stood up for what they believed in and became suffragettes.”
Kate Barratt, Alice Hawkins' great-great-granddaughter added, “Alice actually gives me a lot to live up to. I get asked questions about how I am following in her footsteps but just like many women I go about my day-today life. I have my freedom, I have my vote and I don't even need to think about it, whereas Alice had to fight for that.”
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a descendent of Sikh royalty was instrumental and also a pivotal figure in getting women the right to vote. Granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the Goddaughter of Queen Victoria, she became a pioneering suffragette. Her strong stance of “No Vote, No Census. As women do not count, they refused to be counted” echoed throughout the Suffragette movement. She was arrested and imprisoned as she fought for women to gain the right to vote.
Undoubtedly, the Suffragette movement brought in a monumental change enabling women to voice themselves and demand equality as well as the respect that they deserve. However, to say that we live in a true and equal world today would be farfetched as there are still many pressing issues in today's day and age which indicates gender inequality has not been abolished.
The recent controversy regarding the BBC gender pay gap reveals that even in the year 2018, women are still subjected to discrimination regarding their pay. They work equally as hard (some much harder) than men, yet some are paid much less in remuneration. The glass ceiling also exists which prevents women from reaching top notch positions or gaining promotions, losing out to men.
Although women have the freedom to express theirselves, be it vocally or through their chose of attire, there is still a long way to go for them to fully claim that equality has been achieved. However, compared to other nations where women still do not have the right to make their own decisions and have to abide to male supremacy, Britain excels in many ways.