With the amount of recognition, promotion and publicity today’s feminist movement receives worldwide, it is important to reflect that the gruelling fight for female suffrage took place not so long ago. Whilst we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality, the progress made since the suffragette movement of the nineteenth and twentieth century is a remarkable feat that is worthy of recognition.
Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947) was a champion of the rights of women and the working-classes. During her influential political career, she was among the first female Labour MPs and the second woman to serve in the Cabinet. She had many nicknames including ‘Red Ellen’ (due to the colour of her hair and her socialist beliefs) and ‘Shelter Queen’ (because of her tremendous efforts in distributing half a million Morrison shelters as a Minister for Home Security during the Second World War). As a local Mancunian and University of Manchester History graduate, she is well deserving of the UoM building named in her honour.
Tucked away behind the multi-storey car park of Manchester Royal Infirmary lies the birth of the Suffragette movement: the Pankhurst Centre. Once the home of radical feminist pioneers, the Pankhurst family, the building is now home to the Pankhurst Trust and Manchester Women’s Aid. It would be hard to find a single person in Manchester who did not know a single thing about the Suffragettes or the Pankhurst family, but the story of what happened to the building after the family left is hardly common knowledge at all.
The study of the persecution of witches is not a new idea – the almost morbid fascination with women’s persecution in the form of witch trials has permeated our imaginations for decades. Indeed, the image of the witch has long been a figure of literature and art: from folkloric tales, to modern day films.
Pocahontas is a renowned historical figure, thanks in the most part to the eponymous Disney film that placed her firmly in our historical awareness. Daughter of Powhatan, the leader of an Algonquin tribe, Pocahontas’ life has been sanitised and romanticised to erase any suggestion of the violence of colonialism, from her supposed relationship with John Continue Reading