The Speaker
Friday, 12 April 2024 – 16:50

Suffragist Flag raised above UK parliament in memory of Millicent Fawcett

Suffragist flag was raised above the UK parliament in commemoration of Millicent Fawcett’s birthday.

Millicent Fawcett (11 June 1847- 5 August 1929) was a British feminist and one of the earliest suffragettes who was a tireless campaigner. When she was only 18 years old, she created a mass petition, the first of its kind, in 1886 but was too young to sign it herself.

Elizabeth Garrett, her sister and the first female doctor, was one of the women who brought that petition to John Stuart Mill.

Millicent Fawcett’s husband, Henry Fawcett, was an MP who had lost his eyesight and she aided him in his parliamentary duties until he died in 1884.

She made it her life’s mission to campaign for women’s rights to improve their opportunities in education and politics.

The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was set up in 1897 where she gathered supporters of the cause into a single organisation and led them as their president from 1908-1919. She led a rather peaceful campaign through using non-violent means such as petitions and peaceful public demonstrations. This society was the largest of its kind which marked the beginning of the Suffragette movement which was later on continued by the Pankhurst family.

Green, red and white were the colours of Fawcett’s suffragist movement.

A statue of Dame Millicent was created by artist Gillian Wearing and was unveiled in Parliament Square in London very recently. This monument represented a century which has passed since the Representation of the People Act.

Millicent Fawcett did not just stand for suffrage. Throughout her life as a tireless campaigner, she stood for human rights and justice. She investigated British concentration camps in South Africa, repealed the Contagious Diseases Act and lobbied to criminalise abuse against children within families.

She died at the age of 82 in 1929 at herd home in Gower Street, London which marked almost a year since women were finally granted equal voting rights.

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