Monday, February 05, 2018

Leicester suffragette Alice Hawkins honoured with a city statue

A seven-foot bronze statue of the Leicester suffragette Alice Hawkins was unveiled in the city's new market square yesterday.

You can read all about Alice Hawkins on a website devoted to her:
Born in 1863 in Stafford of a working class background, Alice left school at thirteen to spend her working life as a shoe machinist, in the ‘boot and shoes’.
From her early teens Alice realised that the working conditions and pay for women in industry were inferior to that of their male colleagues and so began a lifetime work of participation in the boot and shoe trade union to try to improve this. 
Alice was lucky in her early twenties, for she joined the Equity Shoe factory which had been newly formed as a worker’s co-operative. The Equity actively encouraged workers to participate in political organisations and allowed time off when necessary. 
But by the early 1900s Alice became increasing disillusioned with what could be achieved through the trade union movement, as the main focus lay in improving the conditions for male workers who were seen as the ‘breadwinners’ of the family. 
Change came for Alice in February 1907 when she attended her first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union in Hyde Park, followed by a march the same day to the House of Commons to demand the vote for women. 
That afternoon mounted police charged down the women and Alice was arrested and imprisoned for the first time in her life. In the following seven years she was to be arrested and jailed a total of five times, with terms of imprisonment in Leicester and Holloway jails.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

I was moved by the women's voices.

As male tenant farmers, my grand parents of that time didn't have a vote. They -- men, women and children -- went to work, with the possibility of literacy for one person.