U.K. Tour to Study Suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst
Women’s Studies in the U.K.
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You’ll arrive in Manchester ready to get out and learn about some activism! But for now, it’s time to rest and get things ready for the first day of your tour tomorrow.
The first destination of your tour is The Pankhurst Center, the birthplace of the suffragette movement. Pankhurst and her family lived in the building from 1898 to 1907, and the first meeting of the movement that would become the suffragettes was held in the parlor. The historical site is saved by, rebuilt by, and run by women. You’ll receive a guided tour from one of the volunteers from the Pankhurst Trust, who will tell you about the organization and ways to help women of the UK live better lives.
Enter St. Peter’s Square and walk toward the entrance to Central Library. Inside, you’ll see a huge photo mosaic poster of Pankhurst, made up of over 10,000 images of women from all over the world. Next, in the square, you’ll see the majestic statue of Pankhurst. After you’re done, you’ll volunteer with End the Fear, the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Hotline. Approximately 2 million people in the UK experienced domestic abuse last year, 65 percent of whom were women, so this is a vital cause for women’s rights.
Today, you’ll visit the Manchester Art Gallery. At first glance, it would seem that an art gallery wouldn’t be a historical spot for the women’s suffrage movement, but looks can be deceiving. When Pankhurst was sentenced to three years of penile servitude for inciting her followers to burn down buildings, three of her fellow suffragettes decided they needed to protest. They vandalized 13 of the gallery’s biggest and most valuable paintings to show their distaste. Many of these paintings are still displayed in the gallery to this day. You’ll receive a tour to specifically point out these paintings and learn about the women who vandalized them. Once you’re done, enjoy a dinner of fish and chips. You wouldn’t be in Great Britain without one!
Your first stop is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel. This building used to be called The Free Trade Hall, and the first public meeting to address the case for women’s suffrage happened here in 1868. Then, you’ll visit the headquarters for MASH, or the Manchester Action on Street Health. This organization helps women who perform sex work remain safe on the streets in downtown Manchester. You’ll learn about the specific hardships these women face, talk to some women who used to work or currently work in sex work, and spend today helping these women stay safe.
This morning, you’ll eat a full English breakfast. Try not to get too stuffed, because next you’ll be heading to the People’s History Museum and doing some walking. Here you’ll learn about the history of the city, as well as the history of the suffragettes. Main Gallery One hosts a display honoring Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the earliest feminist philosophers in the world.
Now that your departure is upon you, spend some time thinking about ways you can help women’s rights in your own city. Emmeline Pankhurst fought so that women could have better lives, and we all need to make sure this is true for all women.
Manchester was Emmeline Pankhurst’s home, as well as the site of many of the women’s suffrage meetings and demonstrations. You’ll get a glimpse into the women’s suffrage movement in the United Kingdom and the state of gender equality in the country today as you study women’s rights in the U.K.
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