For this years UK Parliament Week I aimed to write and manage to upload two posts combining two things I love, politics and something along the lines of fashion or history. I’ve been following UK Parliament Week on Twitter and it’s so amazing to see so many young people engaging in voting. If you couldn’t get involved this week but want to continue to engage in politics then why not have a read of my post featuring my UK Parliament box?
Unfortunately A-levels seemed to get in the way (as per), I probably should’ve prepped in advance for this week and I didn’t actually have time to write two posts, in fact I’ve barely managed to get up one (sorry guys). Actually this week has probably been the busiest week of term so far, I had my GCSE presentation evening, my first driving lesson and I feel like I haven’t really stopped so I guess the no show on the blog is partly justified. BUT this post is one of my favourites. History, inspirational women and politics have combined and I bring to you my post about inspirational women in politics.
You could question why this post isn’t just about inspirational people in politics but I wanted to shine a light on some inspiring women that you may or may not have heard about. I decided to write about a few of the women from Bad Girls Throughout History, a book that is hugely worth buying if you want a brief understanding of a few amazing women in history. Not all the women in the book changed the world of politics but there are a few, and a few that would change the lives of women forever.
Before reading the book, I’d never heard of Sojourner Truth before, and after reading the book I don’t think I’m ever going to forget her. She was born into a family of slaves with the name of Isabella before escaping with her infant daughter a year before the state abolished slavery in 1827. She also became the first African-American woman to win a case against a white man when she sued her former master for selling her five year old son. Isabella became a methodist and changed her name to ‘Sojourner Truth”. The former slave toured the country and she spoke passionately for the political equality of women and the abolition of slavery. Sojourner spoke at the first National Women’s Rights Convention in 1850, I didn’t know this kind of Convention existed but I’ve looked into it and it is so interesting, not only that but Sojourner also spoke at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. She was illiterate, her views were revolutionary for the time and before the Civil War in America even began she was an advocate for civil rights.
Using her influence for good. she worked for desegregation immediately after the Emancipation Proclamation (the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to the slaves in the Confederate States if the states did not return to the Union by 1863, also the Union had to win the war). She advocated as well for the equality of both women and men and in 1872 she was turned away from the polls because she tried to vote (women were only granted the presidential vote in 1920 so a whole 48 years after her attempt). She died at the age of 76 and oner 3000 people attended her funeral, Truth truly left a legacy and gave a voice to the minority as a slave, woman and an African-American.
Another woman that I had never heard of before reading this book was Susan B. Anthony. She made her living as a speaker during a time where women were not even allowed to speak on stage. After doing a little bit of research about the time that Susan was alive in (1820-1906) I found that there was a huge issue of women speaking, this was more important than the vote for a lot of women, they wanted their voices heard and they wanted them heard louder than before.
She was a leader in social reform and contributed hugely to the women’s rights movements. She founded the Women’s Loyal National League, organized a petition that bought in four hundred thousand signatures supporting the abolition of slavery and was arrested for attempting to vote. She’s the first Susan that comes up on google, a somewhat significant fact for some of you but it’s nice to see a bit of history popping up instead of celebrity culture (as much as I love seeing who’s the latest celeb to join I’m A Celebrity). Susan had an active role until her death in 1906. Her legacy still continued though and she’s recognised as a huge inspiration to so many people, her face even appeared on a coin in 1979.
Emmeline Pankhurst actually wasn’t in the book but I wanted to mention her because I think she has such a huge part to play in women and politics, particularly in the UK at least. It is so important to exercise your vote if you can because women like Emmeline Pankhurst died so that women could be granted the right to vote. In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women’s Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections. In October 1903, she helped found the more militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) – an organisation that gained much notoriety for its activities and whose members were the first to be christened ‘suffragettes’. A member of this organization, Emily Davison, is most famous for throwing herself under a horse during a race. I know so many other women were integral to the suffragette movement but I wanted to write about Emmeline, she died shortly after women were granted equal voting rights but her legacy is still with British voters, I can remember vividly learning about the suffragettes in year 8 and the strength they had to keep going is so inspirational.
I couldn’t write this post without mentioning Malala. At seventeen she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever for her work supporting girls’ education rights. Raised in the northwest Swat Valley region of Pakistan, Malala lived under Taliban rule – this meant girls could not attend school. Her father is an education activist and ran a private girls’ school within the Valley region. At the age of eleven and using a faux name, Malala wrote a blog about life under the Taliban rule. When her story was featured in a documentary, her identity was revealed thus making Malala a target of the Taliban. It was when Malala was talking the bus to go home from school on October 9th 2012 that Malala was shot by a masked Taliban.
She has now become an international advocate for children’s rights to education and her huge bravery led to International change. The UN passed a petition in her name that resulted in Pakistan ratifying its first Right to Education Bill. Yousafzai then started the Malala fund, an NGO that empowers girls to raise voices and proved access to education. Malala now studies PPE at Oxford university, she’s a huge inspiration for so many young people, adults and I look up to her so much. At such a young age it’s astounding how much she’s already achieved.
This post is something slightly different but I hope you’ve liked it! There are so many other inspirational women in politics but I thought these four were inspiring to me, the lives they lived and the lives they are living. I hope if you take just one thing away from this post that if you feel strongly enough about something then you have the power to change it. It doesn’t have to be as big as a law, little wins are bigger than none. Who are women in politics that inspire you? Let me know as I would love to continue the conversation!
lots of love, eleanor xx
(ps. the book is super cool and you should all buy it if you need some inspiration). Also if you want to know more about UK Parliament or UK Parliament the link to their website is here.