Making Progress as a Woman in a Man’s World

In Emmeline Pankhurst’s Speech From the Dock, she outlines the failures of the women’s movement in the past “we have tried every way. We have presented larger petitions than were ever presented for any other reform; we have succeeded in holding greater public meetings than men have ever had for any reform… we have faced hostile mobs at street corners… we have been misrepresented, we have been ridiculed, we have had contempt poured upon us” (471). One interesting thing to me was the equation between the past methods and acting traditionally feminine and the way that they are acting now with traditional masculinity; “we have tried to be womanly. We have tried to use feminine influence, and we have seen that it is of no use” (470). Pankhurst makes it clear that women have both been held to an impossibly high standard and that there was no way to create progress in the women’s movement quietly. Personally, I know that it wasn’t until the adoption of such militant tactics in the United States by younger suffragettes that we really made progress which ended with the passing of the 19th amendment. Do you see an alternative to the kind of strategy that Pankhurst alludes to throughout the document? Why or why not? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *