2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of women's right to vote in the UK. The introduction of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 meant that women who were over the age of 30, property owners and graduates from British universities were entitled to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time. David Roberts has produced a beautifully illustrated history of the women's suffrage movement which is both enlightening and fascinating.
Starting with a clear explanation of what 'suffrage' is, the book looks at the development of the suffrage movement, bringing to life many of the key figures on each side of the debate and from all walks of life. The book contains names which are familiar- Emmeline Pankhurst, Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Emily Davison- but also those that are less well known- Ellen Pitfield, Muriel Matters and Ethel Smyth. It introduces those of both sexes, from all walks of life, and the role they played in 'the battle for equality'.
Presenting the history of the movement in a way that is easy to understand, clearly explaining the difference between terms like 'suffragette' and 'suffragist', for example, the book does not shy away from the atrocities committed against women or the destructive acts committed by them. Referred to as 'torture' and a 'horror', force feeding, for example, is explained succinctly, yet the disturbing details of this process is not dwelt on, offering just the right balance of information for younger readers.
The illustrations are wonderful: some poignant, some humorous, all depicting the energy and commitment of these women to the cause they believed in so passionately. This is an inspiring, excellent introduction to such a significant time in our history, a tribute to all those involved, not just a few well known figures. Essential for every library.
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality David Roberts
Two Hoots ISBN: 978-1509839674