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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
The legacy of the Suffragettes
Mrs Pankhurst rallying supporters in Trafalgar Square
Mrs Pankhurst rallying supporters in Trafalgar Square
Their slogan was "deeds, not words." This month we mark the 100th anniversary of the Women's Social and Political Union, better known as the Suffragettes.

The group spearheaded the fight to get women the vote, despite the resistance - and outright hostility - of most of the male political establishment.

The name Pankhurst became for ever associated with the campaign. It was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel was behind many of the group's most audacious moves.

Their tactics were highly controversial - adding civil disobedience and acts of violence to more gentle means of persuasion, which the Suffragettes judged to have failed. In this, they were distinct from the Suffragists who had been seeking the vote for decades.

In this special website feature for The Westminster Hour, we look back at events in the first two decades of the 20th century. We talk to the country's top expert on the campaign to win the vote. We hear the memories of two Suffragettes. And we find out how Woman's Hour on Radio 4 is marking the centenary.

Professor June Purvis
Professor June Purvis
June Purvis, professor of women's and gender history at the University of Portsmouth, has written the first biography of the WSPU's founder and leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, for seventy years. She talks to Kate Conway about the movement and its legacy.

Click here to listen to our interview with June Purvis

Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biographyis published by Routledge.

Emmeline Pankhurst's letter was discovered in 2002
This letter from Emmeline Pankhurst was discovered in 2002
But what was it like to be a suffragette campaigning for the vote in an often hostile environment? Ada Flatman was one of them. In a recording from the BBC sound archives, she recalls how she first became involved.

Click here to listen to Ada Flatman

Suffragettes' statue, Victoria Gardens, Westminster
The statue of Mrs Pankhurst stands in Victoria Gardens, just yards from Parliament
Last week Woman's Hour on Radio 4 marked the approaching centenary with two special reports on the Suffragettes. In the first, broadcast on 30 September, the programme talked to Shirley Williams, one of today's women politicians, visited the Pankhursts' old school in Manchester and heard more from the archives.

Click here to listen to the Woman's Hour report

On 2 October the programme investigated the role of working class women in the campaign for the vote.

Click here to listen to the Woman's Hour report

On 7 October Jenni Murray chaired a special Woman's Hour debate to mark the centenary, at the Women's Library in East London.

Click here to listen to the Woman's Hour debate

One of the present day campaigners to increase the number of female MPs is the Fawcett Society. It bears the name of Millicent Fawcett, the leader of the alternative campaign for votes for women, which believed in using exclusively legal means to achieve it.

The director of the Society is Katherine Rake. Would Emmeline Pankhurst and the others who led the Suffragettes' campaign be satisfied with the role of women in politics 100 years on?

Click here to listen to our interview with Katherine Rake


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