Manchester Honours Suffragettes Leader


Emmeline Pankhurst, the hero of Suffragette Movement, becomes second woman to be honoured with a statue in Manchester. . . . Reports Subhadrika Sen

Emmeline Pankhurst

Contemporary democracy extends the rights to vote for an individual who is eighteen and above irrespective of their gender, but it was not always so unbiased. Woman had to fight for their rights to vote. This famous struggle in a patriarchal society took the shape of the Suffragette or the Suffragist movement. One strong woman leader emerged out of this movement- Emmeline Pankhurst. She was the founder of the Woman’s Social and Political Union and held the first meeting at her house, Chorlton-on- Medlock in 1903. This house has been converted into a museum. She was credited to have empowered many women and fought for the cause of women’s right to vote.

To commemorate her contribution to womankind and society, Manchester is set to erect her statue. The significance of this commemoration is twofold. Not only would this be the statue of the second woman leader in Manchester (after Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens); but also would be unveiled on the occasion of International Woman’s Day in 2019. After almost a century, is a woman being paid tribute to in the form of a statue in Manchester.

Interestingly, Emmeline Pankhurst was only one of the many nominees for an online poll in WoManchester Statue Project. The other nominees were authors Elizabeth Gaskell and Elizabeth Raffald, Councillor Margaret Ashton, anti-racism campaigner Louise Da Cocodia and Parliament member Ellen Wilkinson.  The public voted in favour of Emmeline and she emerged victorious in this poll.

This tribute to her would be entirely by the people and for the people. Within a month or so, a competition would be open to all sculptures who would want to design the statue. The selected designs would also be made public so that the citizens could review it. The financial cost of the statue would also be covered entirely by donations and not by Council funding.

Thus, Emmeline’s struggles and leadership in the Suffragette Movement had indeed left a mark on the society, whereby even after an era she is remembered for her dedication and work and is being popularly voted for paying public tribute by the Manchunians.