Plant a Seed for Gender Equality
Almost 100 years after the first British Women won the right to vote in the UK, how important is the movement for women’s equality today?
The Pankhursts were among those who led the march to achieve change in the name of gender equality, the influence of which is still with us today. They are daughters of the radical city of Manchester, which has a rich history of political activism and involvement in the struggle to achieve equality for all. Their legacy is felt in so many ways; the lasting impact of the way in which they went about fighting for their cause, their absolute dedication, their sacrifice and their ultimate success in achieving the vote for women.
As well as sharing the story of the history of the quest for women’s equality the Pankhurst Centre is also home to Manchester Women’s Aid, a charity that provides housing and practical support for women suffering domestic violence and abuse. Since the time of the Pankhurst’s activism, women have edged closer and closer towards achieving equality. However, our work continues to highlight that there is still a long way to go in all areas of society. Most difficult to comprehend is the startling fact that two women are killed in England and Wales each week as a result of domestic violence, whilst one in four suffer will suffer domestic violence in their lifetimes.
It still continues to be the case, that by taking a campaigning-led approach, women are making their voices heard, as the Gender Pay Gap issue highlights. The movement continues to be led and championed by strong and courageous women of today, just as it was centuries before.
Using the language of flowers to send a message
Suffragettes communicated a strong visual message, using the way they dressed to make sartorial statements. Whilst the press published taunting cartoons of women with masculine clothing and thick-rimmed glasses, the activists themselves opted to rail against this caricature, exuding high-fashion elegance at all times. Flowers were often one important element of their attire and another way of carrying through the colours of the movement.
Emmeline Pankhurst’s garden still stands at 62 Nelson Street, but is in need of some love and attention. With the help of you, our supporters, we want to transform it into a garden that tells the story of the incredible women who won the vote and offers a tranquil, therapeutic space, where women and their children who have experienced domestic abuse can regain their well-being and sense of place. It will be a space where they can reconnect with key parts of themselves that have been broken by violence.
We can’t think of a more fitting way to honour Emmeline and her daughters, 100 years after they helped secure the right for women to vote and made great strides for British gender equality. A report commissioned by the National Garden Scheme demonstrates that increasing people’s exposure to (and use of) green spaces can have a significant improvement on their mental health and well-being. The Pankhurst Garden will provide opportunities for horticultural therapy for survivors, meditation and public events, and for specialist historic tours from our incredible heritage volunteers. We will also encourage staff members to participate to provide stress relief and healthy, positive break from their stressful work. It is our long term goal to grow produce in the garden that can be used in the Centre café.
By pledging support, you will become an indelible part of the Pankhurst Centre’s story past, present and future. Please make a pledge by Thursday 14 December 2017.