The journey towards an equal franchise was a long one, with the first petition advocating for votes for women presented in 1832 and equal suffrage finally being granted with the passing of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act in 1928.
It is well known that those pioneering suffrage campaigners faced opposition from many different quarters of society. A vivid illustration of this opposition is to feature in Parliament’s ground-breaking Voice and Vote exhibition, which opens in Westminster Hall on the 27th June and runs until 6th October 2018.
The wooden suffragette doll is on loan from a private owner and is thought to have been made c. 1912–14. The rare doll depicts a suffragette as a shouting harridan, wearing a masculine tie and pork pie hat. The handbag suggests a weight that might be used to smash windows.
The exhibition also includes two provocative anti‐suffrage postcards, one of which shows a policeman physically assaulting a woman, and with text criticising “the poor suffragette that wanted to get into the House that man built” (referring to the Houses of Parliament).
Negative representations like this doll and the postcards were bought by both pro-and anti-suffrage supporters, who may simply have found them amusing.
These items will be displayed together with immersive and interactive technologies that tell the story of women in Parliament, the campaigning, the protests and the achievements.
Tickets can be booked for free at www.parliament.uk/vote100.