Suffragette leader Sylvia Pankhurst’s granddaughter, Dr. Helen Pankhurst led UK Feminista’s mass Feminist Lobby of Parliament in late October, 106 years after her great grandmother, Emmeline, did the same.
Over 200 women and men from around the country joined her. They met with their MPs to call for urgent action on women’s equality. The lobby day featured a performance by the “Olympic Suffragettes” – a group of women who performed as suffragettes in Danny Boyle’s 2012 Olympics opening ceremony earlier this year, as well as speeches by Yvette Cooper MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Amber Rudd MP.
Women and men at the lobby called for urgent action by MPs to stop a growing tide of attacks on women’s rights. These include the disproportionate and disastrous impact of Government cuts on women’s equality and moves to restrict access to abortion. Lobbyists demanded a range of actions by their MPs to tackle violence against women; improve the representation of women across society; promote equality in the economy, work and family; and ensure justice and rights for women. They called these urgent needs “an unfinished revolution.”
Women are outnumbered four to one in parliament. The full-time pay gap is 15%, and 40% of ethnic minority women live in poverty. Up to three million women and girls in the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence each year, according to Feminista, the organization organizing the lobby day. They say the costs of child care in the UK are “staggering.” The Feminist Lobby of Parliament includes a broad range of leading women’s organisations, including: the Fawcett Society, End Violence Against Women Coalition, British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Women for Refugee Women, Daycare Trust and Object.
More to come about the UK suffragette campaign.