This month - 6th February to be exact, celebrated the 100-year anniversary since (some) woman were granted the right to vote in the UK. On this date in 1918, only women over 30, who were either property owners t, or married to one had the right to vote. It wasn’t until another 10 years later that all women were granted the same voting rights as men, including lowering the voting age for women from 30 to 21 to match that of their male counterparts.
A lot can change in a century, and in the last 100
years a lot has changed. There have been new waves of feminism, new activists, icons and legends – some of whom still walk amongst the sisterhood today. There have been landmark changes in legislation, that would never have occurred had it not been for the boldness of certain changes women to make it so. There arenow seven times the number of female billionaires than there was 20 years ago. More women under 35 are entrepreneurs ever before, they are not just tapping on the glass ceiling anymore, they’re smashing through it.
women, are fearless.
Today’s women wouldn’t have the courage they have today if it weren’t for the women before them, who paved the way and marched for freedom, victory, equality
and justice. Leading that march was activist and pioneer of the Suffragette movement; Emmeline Pankhurst. Imprisoned numerous times in her fight for electoral equality, Emmeline’s determination and activism rumbled through society like an earthquake. Staging political protests and rallies for many years, Emmeline lead the Suffragette’s not only to the ballot box, but to history.
The fight for woman’s rights didn’t end in the
mid 1900’s, we were far from liberated. But, as time changes, so do our needs, and the work done by Pankhurst and the Suffragette’s 100 years ago was just the beginning. Fast forward to the Sixties/Seventies and we are entering the second-wave of feminism, governed by activist, journalist, and now legendary, Gloria Steinem. The woman’s Suffragette movement belonged to Britain, but this new-wave became the new Americana. Fighting for more than gender equality, Steinem’s feminism was wider, focussing on sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights and domestic abuse.
The Seventies was good to us, they graced us with two iconic Gloria’s, both with the power to influence, change and make history. The second
Gloria, is of course none other than women’s rights attorney, Gloria Allred. The focus of a recent Netflix documentary "Seeing Allred”, Gloria brought woman’s right to Congress and to the media. With her no-nonsense attitude, empathy and resilience, Gloria changed state law in the Roe vs Wade case, in which it recognised that criminalising abortion was unconstitutional and affected a woman’s right to choose, leading to the legalisation of abortion across the country.
The second-wave feminists had something the women before them didn’t, the commercial music industry. In a
male dominated industry, female musicians were writing, creating and singing about issues hushed by society. Rock and roll legend, Janis Joplin became a symbol for feminism, being a far cry from America’s Sweetheart, Joplin recognised the power her music had to influence not only audiences, but an entire political movement.
Not unlike another musician we know…
It’s August 2014. It’s Los Angeles. It’s the MTV Video Music Awards. The world is now introduced to the latest wave of feminism, brought back into the world by none other than the Queen herself, and by Queen, you know who I mean. Yep, Beyonce. Performing at
15-minute set, ‘Yonce served the world straight up fierce feminism. With Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s voiceover in epic hit Flawless and the word "FEMINIST” emblazoned behind Bey herself, this mega-star, and mega-influencer showed America feminism once again.
Feminism never left us, it just seemed to be leaderless for a while. But what about right now, in 2018, who’s our leader at this moment, in our time?
Answer. Every woman and man who describe themselves as feminists are leaders in this movement. There have been six generations since the first woman’s rights movement, those generations have seen a lot, and done a lot for women across the world. But the fight wasn’t over in 1918, and it isn’t over now. Who knows what will happen in the next hundred years, but right now, we all lead this movement.
So, what about all these waves of feminism? Well, yes, they may come one after the other, but waves are a phenomenon that transport energy, driven by
extreme power with a truly unstoppable force. Just. Like. Feminists.