Emmeline Pankhurst is probably most famous for being one of the suffragettes.
She was born Emmeline Goulden on 15th July 1858, and as her parents were both political activists who supported votes for women, she was taken to rallies from a young age and from there she developed her own interest in the women’s movement.
In 1879 she married Richard Pankhurst, who was 24 years her senior. He was a lawyer who shared her views on women’s rights, and together they founded the Women’s Franchise League in 1889. Sadly Richard died only a few years later in 1898, aged just 62.
In 1903 Emmeline, together with her eldest daughter Christabel, set up a new group the Women’s Social and Political Union. This was much more militant than her first group, and its members were often imprisoned for violence, including smashing windows and setting fires. None of this for them any closer to achieving their aims of voting rights for women.
In 1914 wall broke out and Emmeline turned her attention to supporting in the war effort. At the end of the war, women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. Many people put this down to their work during the war, although this was never given as the official reason.
Emmeline Pankhurst died in June 1928, just a few weeks before the government granted the vote to all women aged 21 and over, to match the voting rights of men.