April marked a significant historical benchmark: the exposure of the first ever female statue in Parliament square. Just over 100 years ago this London space is where both angry and peaceful protests occurred between those of whom supported suffrage and the police. Finally being commemorated is Millicent Fawcett, the relentless leader of the constitutional and democratic National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), frequently known as the Suffragists. Today, June 11th is Fawcett's 171st birthday, as Google Doodle has brought to light!
Who was Millicent Fawcett?
Millicent Fawcett had been a pioneer and leader of the movement for women's suffrage. Throughout history, she has been left in the shadows of the dominant Pankhurst family, of whom founded the Women's Political and Social Union which utilised militant, striking tactics to ask for votes for women. Non-militant, constitutional campaigns crossed the decades before the WSPU's formation in 1903, with minimal success and a heightened sense of annoyance. Observing just The National Archive records, it would be acceptable for one to think that the women's suffrage movement began at the militant activity outbreak in 1905. Though there was rich constitutional campaigns for the 50 years after this and even after this point. The records that exist in our collection, in a multitude of ways symbolise that regardless of their numerous amount of years of actively campaigning, the Government refused to listen to their peaceful protesting. It was strongly indicated by records that the government was way more concerned about militancy than peaceful protests and petitions.