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Women's suffrage campaigners: Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) was brought up in a politically active family. She became involved in women's suffrage in 1880 and formed the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) when her local branch of the Independent Labour Party refused to admit women members. She believed winning the vote would never be achieved by constitutional means. She was imprisoned on a number of occasions for militant action, and went on hunger strike protests.

During the First World War, Emmeline and her daughter Christabel worked to mobilise women for the war effort, believing this was the best way for women to prove they deserved the vote. However her daughter Sylvia opposed the war and worked to relieve suffering of working women in the East End. After the report of the Speaker's Conference, Emmeline attended a deputation of women war workers to the Prime Minister in March 1917, where she said in war time she wanted to see the vote given ‘with as little disputes and as little difference as possible.'


Emmeline Pankhurst


John H. F. Bacon




Chalk on paper

Catalogue number

Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA 5438