Emmeline Pankhurst

My Own Story (Vintage Feminism Short Edition)
  • My Own Story (Vintage Feminism Short Edition)

  • Vintage Feminism: classic feminist texts in short form

    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JESS PHILLIPS

    Soldier, criminal, militant, hooligan, revolutionary: these labels Emmeline Pankhurst took up and wore proudly in her long struggle for women’s suffrage. This shortened edition of her autobiography tells the inside story of this struggle: the tireless campaigning, the betrayals by men in power, the relentless round of arrests and hunger strikes, the horror of force-feeding. It is a reminder of the controversial means, the indomitable spirit and the sacrifices of life and liberty by which women won their political freedom.

    ALSO IN THE VINTAGE FEMINIST SHORTS SERIES:

    The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
    The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
    A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Emmeline Pankhurst was born in 1858 in Manchester, into a politically active family. She became interested in politics at a young age and a supporter of women’s suffrage by the age of fourteen. As a teenager she attended school in Paris and on her return to Manchester she met and married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister twenty-four years her senior. Over the next ten years they had five children. Emmeline’s interest in politics and involvement in the suffrage movement continued to develop and she was a member of the Women’s Franchise League and later the Independent Labour Party. In 1903, frustrated by the lack of progress on securing votes for women, Pankhurst and several colleagues founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a militant organisation devoted to securing votes for women by direct action. For the following twenty years, members of the WSPU, led by Pankhurst, endured prison and hunger strikes in their struggle to win the right to vote. Their activities were called to a halt by the start of the First World War but in 1918, the government gave voting rights to women over thirty. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men.