March 8th each year marks International Women’s Day which has been observed in some form since 1909. The day itself grew out of the women’s suffrage movements that characterised the early twentieth century in both the UK and the United States. The women fighting for the right to vote, dubbed the ‘suffragettes’, used various methods to make sure their voices were heard, including protesting, hunger strikes, and even chaining themselves to railways. In 1918, women were granted the right to vote in Great Britain, but subject to the requirements that they were over the age of 30 and either married to a man who owned property or property owners themselves. It wasn’t until 1928 that women were finally granted the right the vote on the same terms as men.
The collection of images and cartoons below chronicles the suffragette movement and the intense resistance and ridicule they faced from the media of the day. The images portray the forced feeding of women who were attempting to hunger strike, a dismissive cartoon of a ‘women’s mind’, and the presumed neglected home and children of a suffragette. These images testify to the sacrifice the women’s movement made and how far we have come since then.