5 more reasons to love the Ipswich suffragettes


Let’s look at some other aspects of the suffragettes, and why they are so admirable.

**Despite their serious purpose, they had a lot of fun.

Working together to achieve important and fundamental change is serious, hard work, and can be frightening. But it can also be a lot of fun. Imagine the Pageant of Great Women, which the local suffragettes staged with help from the national Actress Franchise League in 1910 – when they acted the parts of Sappho, Charlotte Corday, Catherine the Great and Joan of Arc, to name but a few – suitably dressed of course. Or rehearsing a propaganda sketch where the idle man of the house has no idea how to care for the baby when his wife goes to a suffragette meeting…

**They were fantastic organisers

As well as the immaculately planned events, protests, speeches and so on, the groups were continuously fund-raising to keep their offices and shops going. Local leader Constance Andrews was rated so highly for her organisational skills that she was taken off to be an organiser within the national branch in London.

**They never gave up

For some of the Ipswich suffragettes, campaigning and protest must have been a way of life, taking up their time, energy, money and ingenuity. The same names are mentioned again and again. An example is Mrs Hossack who was mentioned as early as 1907, when the action in Ipswich had hardly got going, right up until 1914 when the campaign was suspended. She was involved in hundreds of events, was subject to heckling and aggression, and had organisational roles as well.

**What they did was important

Ipswich women, together with colleagues across the country, changed the face of British politics, and achieved full democracy in this country. They laid the cornerstone for many pieces of legislation in the following decades which slowly but surely wrested privilege from men and moved us towards a more equal world.

**They still have the power to inspire us

The suffragette campaign is a great story, or set of stories, but it is far more than that. We can reflect on the sacrifices that these women made to put right a wrong, and to create the possibility of equality for women. And we can also reflect that we are far from seeing that ‘the whole wide world and all its opportunities are just as much the sphere of woman as of man’. This was the ultimate aim of many of those idealistic women, and from them we can take inspiration.

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