Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

Rise Up, Women!

The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes

By Diane Atkinson
15-minute read
Audio available
Rise Up, Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes by Diane Atkinson

Rise Up, Women! (2018) tells the remarkable story of the militant women’s suffrage movement in the United Kingdom. Full of fascinating insights into the women at the heart of the struggle for equality, these blinks illuminate one of the twentieth century’s first great civil rights revolutions.

  • History buffs
  • Feminists
  • Activists

Diane Atkinson is a writer who regularly lectures on the suffragettes. A consultant on the 2015 film Suffragette, she has also worked with many documentary makers. Her previous books include Suffragettes in Pictures, Funny Girls and Elsie and Mairi Go to War.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Rise Up, Women!

The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes

By Diane Atkinson
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Rise Up, Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes by Diane Atkinson
Synopsis

Rise Up, Women! (2018) tells the remarkable story of the militant women’s suffrage movement in the United Kingdom. Full of fascinating insights into the women at the heart of the struggle for equality, these blinks illuminate one of the twentieth century’s first great civil rights revolutions.

Key idea 1 of 9

The Pankhurst family began advocating for women’s suffrage in early twentieth-century Britain.

Following voting reforms in 1832, around 800,000 property-owning men in the United Kingdom could vote. Women, however, remained disenfranchised. That struck some as deeply unfair. The English philosopher John Stuart Mill, for example, raised the issue in 1867, arguing that it was unjust that female taxpayers couldn’t elect their own representatives.

Yet little was done to change the situation. Even the socialist Labour party, which was otherwise committed to equality, kept silent. Its leaders feared that only wealthy women would be given the vote, boosting the Conservative and Liberal parties. By the turn of the twentieth century, the situation looked bleak for supporters of women’s suffrage.

Frustrated by this lack of progress, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Sylvia decided to take matters into their own hands. In 1905, the duo began lobbying members of parliament or MPs directly, but their arguments mostly fell on deaf ears. One exception was John Slack, the Liberal MP for St Albans. Slack decided to raise the question of women’s suffrage in parliament and introduced a private members’ bill – a proposal to change the law.

The bill was filibustered. Opponents extended debates concerning other bills. By the time Slack’s proposal was raised for discussion, only 30 minutes remained. As it was announced, MPs laughed and clapped.

That was the moment the Pankhursts realized that they’d have to change their tactics. If they wanted to secure the vote for women, politely asking for change just wasn’t going to cut it. So what was the alternative? Well, they’d have to become a great deal more confrontational and shock people. Their organization – the Women’s Social and Political Union or WSPU – adopted a new motto to reflect this change in tactics: “Deeds not words.”

Christabel, another of Pankhurst’s daughters, and Annie Kenney, a mill worker from Oldham, led the way. They interrupted a Liberal rally in Manchester and waved a banner reading “Will you give votes for women?” As police officers led them away, Christabel spat at one of them, knowing it’d get her arrested.

Both were charged with obstruction while Christabel faced another charge of assault. When they refused to pay their fines, they were sentenced to several days in prison. That got people talking. Newspapers like the Times reported on the trial – the first WSPU event to ever feature in the national press!

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.