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Episode
36

The Suffragettes // How Women Won The Vote

Mar 17, 2020
History
-
minutes
World War I
Women's rights
The Royal Family

"We are here not because we are law-breakers, we are here in our efforts to become law-makers"

Hunger strikes, chaining yourself to railings, and being killed by the King's horse.

It's time to tell the story of The Suffragette movement in Britain, and how women got the right to vote.

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[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English, the show where you can improve your English while learning fascinating things about the world. 

[00:00:17] Today we are talking about the Suffragette movement in the UK and how women won the vote. 

[00:00:25] At the start of the 20th century in the UK, like much of the world, women were considered second-class citizens, unable to vote in national elections.

[00:00:38] The Suffragette movement saw women rise up in their masses. 

[00:00:43] They chained themselves to railings, smashed shop windows, and blew up houses. 

[00:00:51] One was even killed by throwing herself in front of the King's horse. 

[00:00:57] And by 1928 all women over the age of 21 were given the right to vote.

[00:01:05] Finally, they had managed to achieve the same status as men. 

[00:01:11] The movement that did more than anything else for women's rights in the UK was called the Suffragette movement. 

[00:01:18] And today we are going to tell the story of these brave women and how they won the vote.

[00:01:25] Before we get right into it though, this is just your customary reminder for those of you listening to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, iVoox or wherever you may get your podcasts that you can get your copy of the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] The transcript is really useful for following every single word and not missing anything. 

[00:01:53] You can get it in PDF format, you can read it on the website, or even it now comes in animating form, so it scrolls across the page, just like subtitles.

[00:02:05] And the key vocabulary explains the harder words, so you don't have to stop to look up words and you can build your vocabulary at the same time as listening to the podcast. 

[00:02:17] So go and check that out. It's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:02:23] Okay then let's talk about the Suffragettes. 

[00:02:27] We'll be talking about women's rights in the UK but it's worth just painting the picture of women's rights around the world at the start of the 20th century.

[00:02:41] If we were to summarise it, we'd probably say it was pretty bleak, the prospects didn't look good for women. 

[00:02:50] There are a few exceptions, but in general, the majority of countries in the world didn't allow women to vote, and if they did, it was normally restricted to a small selection of women - women who owned property or women who paid taxes, or it only allowed women to vote in certain elections.

[00:03:15] Universal suffrage, meaning that everyone was able to vote regardless of their status, didn't exist anywhere really, and certainly not in Europe. 

[00:03:28] And towards the end of the 19th century, there was an increasing movement in the UK that pushed for women's rights to vote. 

[00:03:40] There were a few laws that were proposed in parliament, but nothing really happened. 

[00:03:47] The politicians - who were at that time, all men, of course, women weren't allowed to, to put themselves forward to be a member of parliament - these men didn't seem interested in giving women the vote, and every time there was a bill proposed, a law proposed, in parliament, they would vote it down, they would vote against it. 

[00:04:12] It seemed clear that the peaceful route of petitioning the government, of going to meetings and trying to persuade politicians to support women's rights to vote, it became clear that this wasn't having much impact, it wasn't very successful. 

[00:04:33] And so in 1903 a new movement was formed called the Women's Social and Political Union, the WSPU for short.

[00:04:46] It was formed by a woman called Emiline Pankhurst, and it proposed a different approach to what had been tried previously. 

[00:04:58] Their motto, their slogan, the catchphrase, I guess, was "deeds, not words". 

[00:05:07] So deeds means action, it means getting stuff done. 

[00:05:12] Pankhurst, who was the leader of the WSPU, she had been campaigning for women's rights since she was a girl, since the age of 14, so for 31 years, and she was fed up with men saying that they were going to change things.

[00:05:32] She was fed up with empty words. 

[00:05:36] And thus 'deeds, not words' was born. 

[00:05:41] The WSPU was all about action, about showing men that women were serious about this and that they were going to disrupt society until they got what they wanted. 

[00:05:56] And so what did they do? 

[00:05:57] Well, they were pretty disruptive. 

[00:06:00] They protested, they smashed up windows of shops. 

[00:06:04] They chained themselves to railings

[00:06:07] And they blew up postboxes. 

[00:06:12] And they were horribly treated by men, and in particular, by the police. 

[00:06:18] They were put into prison, of course, what they were doing, despite the fact that the objectives may have been good, what they were doing was illegal, and when they were put into prison, the Suffragettes, the women, they went on hunger strike, they refused to eat. 

[00:06:39] And so the prison guards would force feed them, they would put a pipe down the women's throats and force food down their necks. 

[00:06:49] It's pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:06:53] And although this frightened some men, the behaviour of the women, others ridiculed the movement, and they took this as an opportunity to ridicule women. 

[00:07:08] The name of the movement, the Suffragettes, actually comes from a name that was given to the movement by a male journalist from the Daily Mail. 

[00:07:21] The name he gave them, the Suffragettes, was intended to ridicule their cause, to make fun of them, to belittle them. 

[00:07:31] But instead of getting angry about it, they embraced it, saying that the get, the 'get' in Suffragette means that they were about getting the vote. 

[00:07:45] And this wasn't some sort of part-time protest where women took part in it whenever they could.

[00:07:54] Many of the Suffragettes were arrested dozens of times and made active efforts to be put in prison. 

[00:08:03] The disruption that they were causing was vital, it was very important to further their cause, to help people understand that they were serious. 

[00:08:16] What they were doing was not wrong, per se, it was an important step in the journey towards getting the vote.

[00:08:25] That was at least their theory. 

[00:08:29] In one of her many trials at court, Emiline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragettes, told the court, "We are here not because we are law-breakers, we are here in our efforts to become law-makers".

[00:08:46] Some of their actions proved more and more militant, more and more extreme, and ended up costing some of them their lives. 

[00:08:59] In 1913, at the Epsom Derby, a famous horse race in the UK, a Suffragette called Emily Davison rushed onto the track as the horses were running towards her. 

[00:09:14] She was hit by the King's horse and knocked to the ground and died of her injuries a few days after.

[00:09:23] It's still not clear exactly what her motives were here. 

[00:09:28] It didn't seem like she intended to kill herself, and it may have been that she was just trying to put a Suffragette banner, a sort of flag on the King's horse. 

[00:09:42] But whether it was intentional or an accident gone wrong, didn't really matter at the end. 

[00:09:49] It was abundantly clear that the Suffragettes were for real and they would stop at nothing until they got the vote.

[00:10:00] By this time, in 1913 there was much stronger support for the Suffragette movement from men, and it looked likely that the vote would come relatively soon. 

[00:10:13] However, in 1914 the First World War broke out, and of course, that put an end to the Suffragette disruption, as all attentions were focused on the war effort. 

[00:10:29] Although on one level, this stalled the progress of the Suffragette movement, it slowed things down, it actually helped in the background. 

[00:10:41] One of the reasons given for not allowing women the vote was that they weren't as capable as men, they weren't as strong and they weren't as able to have independent thought as men were.

[00:10:57] It obviously seems like nonsense to us now, but at that time it was the prevailing belief, it was what a lot of men thought. 

[00:11:08] Anyway, during the First World War, while men were at the front fighting, things back at home, back in the UK, were kept going by women. 

[00:11:21] Whether it was working in the factories, producing arms, bullets, guns, and so on, or producing food to keep the population fed, it was clear, if it hadn't been already, that women were just as capable as men. 

[00:11:40] And thispaved the way for women to get the vote, it put women on the path towards getting the vote. 

[00:11:48] In February, 1918, while the war was still ongoing, the first women were given the right to vote. 

[00:11:56] However, it wasn't universal. 

[00:11:59] It was restricted to women over the age of 30 who owned property.

[00:12:05] So it was a start, but certainly not what these Suffragettes had fought for. 

[00:12:12] Women had to wait another 10 years, until 1928 for the full rights, which meant that women had exactly the same voting rights as men, so everyone over the age of 21 was able to vote. 

[00:12:29] Just as a side note, you may know that now the voting age in the UK is 18.

[00:12:36] That actually happened in 1970, and of course applied to men and women equally.

[00:12:44] And the Suffragette movement continues to inspire people and be remembered through popular culture. 

[00:12:51] If you've seen the film, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Banks, the mother of the children returns from a march and sings the song "Sister Suffragette".

[00:13:06] And more recently, in February 2019, female Democrat members of the US Congress dressed predominantly in white when they attended President Trump's State of the Union address. 

[00:13:20] And the choice of white was because that was in solidarity with the movement.

[00:13:30] Now, it might seem mad to us that this was what had to be done to grant women just equal voting rights with men, but it seemed that petitioning and peaceful protest wasn't enough to get the job done. 

[00:13:47] And of course, it wasn't just in the UK that similar women's movements existed and that women fought for the vote. 

[00:13:57] The interwar period, the period between World War One and World War Two saw many Western countries give women the vote. 

[00:14:06] Although there were a few notable exceptions.

[00:14:10] France, for example, only gave women the vote in 1944, Greece in 1952 and Switzerland, not until 1971. 

[00:14:22] And of course, unfortunately, there are still a handful of countries where women don't have the same voting rights as men, which I'm sure would have Emiline Pankhurst turning in her grave

[00:14:36] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting dive into the world of the Suffragettes.

[00:14:43] It's a fascinating story, I think. 

[00:14:47] These women were obviously incredibly brave and suffered greatly for their cause, and we all have a lot to thank them for. 

[00:14:56] Just as a final reminder, if you were looking for the transcripts and key vocabulary for the podcast, or for any other podcasts for that matter, you can check that out at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:08] You do need to be a member of Leonardo English to get access to all of this, but that includes bonus podcasts by the way, and of course, supporting the podcast and membership starts at just under two euros a week. 

[00:15:20] So do go and check that out, it's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:25] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:15:29] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.


Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
Already a member? Login

[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English, the show where you can improve your English while learning fascinating things about the world. 

[00:00:17] Today we are talking about the Suffragette movement in the UK and how women won the vote. 

[00:00:25] At the start of the 20th century in the UK, like much of the world, women were considered second-class citizens, unable to vote in national elections.

[00:00:38] The Suffragette movement saw women rise up in their masses. 

[00:00:43] They chained themselves to railings, smashed shop windows, and blew up houses. 

[00:00:51] One was even killed by throwing herself in front of the King's horse. 

[00:00:57] And by 1928 all women over the age of 21 were given the right to vote.

[00:01:05] Finally, they had managed to achieve the same status as men. 

[00:01:11] The movement that did more than anything else for women's rights in the UK was called the Suffragette movement. 

[00:01:18] And today we are going to tell the story of these brave women and how they won the vote.

[00:01:25] Before we get right into it though, this is just your customary reminder for those of you listening to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, iVoox or wherever you may get your podcasts that you can get your copy of the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] The transcript is really useful for following every single word and not missing anything. 

[00:01:53] You can get it in PDF format, you can read it on the website, or even it now comes in animating form, so it scrolls across the page, just like subtitles.

[00:02:05] And the key vocabulary explains the harder words, so you don't have to stop to look up words and you can build your vocabulary at the same time as listening to the podcast. 

[00:02:17] So go and check that out. It's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:02:23] Okay then let's talk about the Suffragettes. 

[00:02:27] We'll be talking about women's rights in the UK but it's worth just painting the picture of women's rights around the world at the start of the 20th century.

[00:02:41] If we were to summarise it, we'd probably say it was pretty bleak, the prospects didn't look good for women. 

[00:02:50] There are a few exceptions, but in general, the majority of countries in the world didn't allow women to vote, and if they did, it was normally restricted to a small selection of women - women who owned property or women who paid taxes, or it only allowed women to vote in certain elections.

[00:03:15] Universal suffrage, meaning that everyone was able to vote regardless of their status, didn't exist anywhere really, and certainly not in Europe. 

[00:03:28] And towards the end of the 19th century, there was an increasing movement in the UK that pushed for women's rights to vote. 

[00:03:40] There were a few laws that were proposed in parliament, but nothing really happened. 

[00:03:47] The politicians - who were at that time, all men, of course, women weren't allowed to, to put themselves forward to be a member of parliament - these men didn't seem interested in giving women the vote, and every time there was a bill proposed, a law proposed, in parliament, they would vote it down, they would vote against it. 

[00:04:12] It seemed clear that the peaceful route of petitioning the government, of going to meetings and trying to persuade politicians to support women's rights to vote, it became clear that this wasn't having much impact, it wasn't very successful. 

[00:04:33] And so in 1903 a new movement was formed called the Women's Social and Political Union, the WSPU for short.

[00:04:46] It was formed by a woman called Emiline Pankhurst, and it proposed a different approach to what had been tried previously. 

[00:04:58] Their motto, their slogan, the catchphrase, I guess, was "deeds, not words". 

[00:05:07] So deeds means action, it means getting stuff done. 

[00:05:12] Pankhurst, who was the leader of the WSPU, she had been campaigning for women's rights since she was a girl, since the age of 14, so for 31 years, and she was fed up with men saying that they were going to change things.

[00:05:32] She was fed up with empty words. 

[00:05:36] And thus 'deeds, not words' was born. 

[00:05:41] The WSPU was all about action, about showing men that women were serious about this and that they were going to disrupt society until they got what they wanted. 

[00:05:56] And so what did they do? 

[00:05:57] Well, they were pretty disruptive. 

[00:06:00] They protested, they smashed up windows of shops. 

[00:06:04] They chained themselves to railings

[00:06:07] And they blew up postboxes. 

[00:06:12] And they were horribly treated by men, and in particular, by the police. 

[00:06:18] They were put into prison, of course, what they were doing, despite the fact that the objectives may have been good, what they were doing was illegal, and when they were put into prison, the Suffragettes, the women, they went on hunger strike, they refused to eat. 

[00:06:39] And so the prison guards would force feed them, they would put a pipe down the women's throats and force food down their necks. 

[00:06:49] It's pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:06:53] And although this frightened some men, the behaviour of the women, others ridiculed the movement, and they took this as an opportunity to ridicule women. 

[00:07:08] The name of the movement, the Suffragettes, actually comes from a name that was given to the movement by a male journalist from the Daily Mail. 

[00:07:21] The name he gave them, the Suffragettes, was intended to ridicule their cause, to make fun of them, to belittle them. 

[00:07:31] But instead of getting angry about it, they embraced it, saying that the get, the 'get' in Suffragette means that they were about getting the vote. 

[00:07:45] And this wasn't some sort of part-time protest where women took part in it whenever they could.

[00:07:54] Many of the Suffragettes were arrested dozens of times and made active efforts to be put in prison. 

[00:08:03] The disruption that they were causing was vital, it was very important to further their cause, to help people understand that they were serious. 

[00:08:16] What they were doing was not wrong, per se, it was an important step in the journey towards getting the vote.

[00:08:25] That was at least their theory. 

[00:08:29] In one of her many trials at court, Emiline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragettes, told the court, "We are here not because we are law-breakers, we are here in our efforts to become law-makers".

[00:08:46] Some of their actions proved more and more militant, more and more extreme, and ended up costing some of them their lives. 

[00:08:59] In 1913, at the Epsom Derby, a famous horse race in the UK, a Suffragette called Emily Davison rushed onto the track as the horses were running towards her. 

[00:09:14] She was hit by the King's horse and knocked to the ground and died of her injuries a few days after.

[00:09:23] It's still not clear exactly what her motives were here. 

[00:09:28] It didn't seem like she intended to kill herself, and it may have been that she was just trying to put a Suffragette banner, a sort of flag on the King's horse. 

[00:09:42] But whether it was intentional or an accident gone wrong, didn't really matter at the end. 

[00:09:49] It was abundantly clear that the Suffragettes were for real and they would stop at nothing until they got the vote.

[00:10:00] By this time, in 1913 there was much stronger support for the Suffragette movement from men, and it looked likely that the vote would come relatively soon. 

[00:10:13] However, in 1914 the First World War broke out, and of course, that put an end to the Suffragette disruption, as all attentions were focused on the war effort. 

[00:10:29] Although on one level, this stalled the progress of the Suffragette movement, it slowed things down, it actually helped in the background. 

[00:10:41] One of the reasons given for not allowing women the vote was that they weren't as capable as men, they weren't as strong and they weren't as able to have independent thought as men were.

[00:10:57] It obviously seems like nonsense to us now, but at that time it was the prevailing belief, it was what a lot of men thought. 

[00:11:08] Anyway, during the First World War, while men were at the front fighting, things back at home, back in the UK, were kept going by women. 

[00:11:21] Whether it was working in the factories, producing arms, bullets, guns, and so on, or producing food to keep the population fed, it was clear, if it hadn't been already, that women were just as capable as men. 

[00:11:40] And thispaved the way for women to get the vote, it put women on the path towards getting the vote. 

[00:11:48] In February, 1918, while the war was still ongoing, the first women were given the right to vote. 

[00:11:56] However, it wasn't universal. 

[00:11:59] It was restricted to women over the age of 30 who owned property.

[00:12:05] So it was a start, but certainly not what these Suffragettes had fought for. 

[00:12:12] Women had to wait another 10 years, until 1928 for the full rights, which meant that women had exactly the same voting rights as men, so everyone over the age of 21 was able to vote. 

[00:12:29] Just as a side note, you may know that now the voting age in the UK is 18.

[00:12:36] That actually happened in 1970, and of course applied to men and women equally.

[00:12:44] And the Suffragette movement continues to inspire people and be remembered through popular culture. 

[00:12:51] If you've seen the film, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Banks, the mother of the children returns from a march and sings the song "Sister Suffragette".

[00:13:06] And more recently, in February 2019, female Democrat members of the US Congress dressed predominantly in white when they attended President Trump's State of the Union address. 

[00:13:20] And the choice of white was because that was in solidarity with the movement.

[00:13:30] Now, it might seem mad to us that this was what had to be done to grant women just equal voting rights with men, but it seemed that petitioning and peaceful protest wasn't enough to get the job done. 

[00:13:47] And of course, it wasn't just in the UK that similar women's movements existed and that women fought for the vote. 

[00:13:57] The interwar period, the period between World War One and World War Two saw many Western countries give women the vote. 

[00:14:06] Although there were a few notable exceptions.

[00:14:10] France, for example, only gave women the vote in 1944, Greece in 1952 and Switzerland, not until 1971. 

[00:14:22] And of course, unfortunately, there are still a handful of countries where women don't have the same voting rights as men, which I'm sure would have Emiline Pankhurst turning in her grave

[00:14:36] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting dive into the world of the Suffragettes.

[00:14:43] It's a fascinating story, I think. 

[00:14:47] These women were obviously incredibly brave and suffered greatly for their cause, and we all have a lot to thank them for. 

[00:14:56] Just as a final reminder, if you were looking for the transcripts and key vocabulary for the podcast, or for any other podcasts for that matter, you can check that out at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:08] You do need to be a member of Leonardo English to get access to all of this, but that includes bonus podcasts by the way, and of course, supporting the podcast and membership starts at just under two euros a week. 

[00:15:20] So do go and check that out, it's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:25] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:15:29] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.


[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English, the show where you can improve your English while learning fascinating things about the world. 

[00:00:17] Today we are talking about the Suffragette movement in the UK and how women won the vote. 

[00:00:25] At the start of the 20th century in the UK, like much of the world, women were considered second-class citizens, unable to vote in national elections.

[00:00:38] The Suffragette movement saw women rise up in their masses. 

[00:00:43] They chained themselves to railings, smashed shop windows, and blew up houses. 

[00:00:51] One was even killed by throwing herself in front of the King's horse. 

[00:00:57] And by 1928 all women over the age of 21 were given the right to vote.

[00:01:05] Finally, they had managed to achieve the same status as men. 

[00:01:11] The movement that did more than anything else for women's rights in the UK was called the Suffragette movement. 

[00:01:18] And today we are going to tell the story of these brave women and how they won the vote.

[00:01:25] Before we get right into it though, this is just your customary reminder for those of you listening to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, iVoox or wherever you may get your podcasts that you can get your copy of the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] The transcript is really useful for following every single word and not missing anything. 

[00:01:53] You can get it in PDF format, you can read it on the website, or even it now comes in animating form, so it scrolls across the page, just like subtitles.

[00:02:05] And the key vocabulary explains the harder words, so you don't have to stop to look up words and you can build your vocabulary at the same time as listening to the podcast. 

[00:02:17] So go and check that out. It's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:02:23] Okay then let's talk about the Suffragettes. 

[00:02:27] We'll be talking about women's rights in the UK but it's worth just painting the picture of women's rights around the world at the start of the 20th century.

[00:02:41] If we were to summarise it, we'd probably say it was pretty bleak, the prospects didn't look good for women. 

[00:02:50] There are a few exceptions, but in general, the majority of countries in the world didn't allow women to vote, and if they did, it was normally restricted to a small selection of women - women who owned property or women who paid taxes, or it only allowed women to vote in certain elections.

[00:03:15] Universal suffrage, meaning that everyone was able to vote regardless of their status, didn't exist anywhere really, and certainly not in Europe. 

[00:03:28] And towards the end of the 19th century, there was an increasing movement in the UK that pushed for women's rights to vote. 

[00:03:40] There were a few laws that were proposed in parliament, but nothing really happened. 

[00:03:47] The politicians - who were at that time, all men, of course, women weren't allowed to, to put themselves forward to be a member of parliament - these men didn't seem interested in giving women the vote, and every time there was a bill proposed, a law proposed, in parliament, they would vote it down, they would vote against it. 

[00:04:12] It seemed clear that the peaceful route of petitioning the government, of going to meetings and trying to persuade politicians to support women's rights to vote, it became clear that this wasn't having much impact, it wasn't very successful. 

[00:04:33] And so in 1903 a new movement was formed called the Women's Social and Political Union, the WSPU for short.

[00:04:46] It was formed by a woman called Emiline Pankhurst, and it proposed a different approach to what had been tried previously. 

[00:04:58] Their motto, their slogan, the catchphrase, I guess, was "deeds, not words". 

[00:05:07] So deeds means action, it means getting stuff done. 

[00:05:12] Pankhurst, who was the leader of the WSPU, she had been campaigning for women's rights since she was a girl, since the age of 14, so for 31 years, and she was fed up with men saying that they were going to change things.

[00:05:32] She was fed up with empty words. 

[00:05:36] And thus 'deeds, not words' was born. 

[00:05:41] The WSPU was all about action, about showing men that women were serious about this and that they were going to disrupt society until they got what they wanted. 

[00:05:56] And so what did they do? 

[00:05:57] Well, they were pretty disruptive. 

[00:06:00] They protested, they smashed up windows of shops. 

[00:06:04] They chained themselves to railings

[00:06:07] And they blew up postboxes. 

[00:06:12] And they were horribly treated by men, and in particular, by the police. 

[00:06:18] They were put into prison, of course, what they were doing, despite the fact that the objectives may have been good, what they were doing was illegal, and when they were put into prison, the Suffragettes, the women, they went on hunger strike, they refused to eat. 

[00:06:39] And so the prison guards would force feed them, they would put a pipe down the women's throats and force food down their necks. 

[00:06:49] It's pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:06:53] And although this frightened some men, the behaviour of the women, others ridiculed the movement, and they took this as an opportunity to ridicule women. 

[00:07:08] The name of the movement, the Suffragettes, actually comes from a name that was given to the movement by a male journalist from the Daily Mail. 

[00:07:21] The name he gave them, the Suffragettes, was intended to ridicule their cause, to make fun of them, to belittle them. 

[00:07:31] But instead of getting angry about it, they embraced it, saying that the get, the 'get' in Suffragette means that they were about getting the vote. 

[00:07:45] And this wasn't some sort of part-time protest where women took part in it whenever they could.

[00:07:54] Many of the Suffragettes were arrested dozens of times and made active efforts to be put in prison. 

[00:08:03] The disruption that they were causing was vital, it was very important to further their cause, to help people understand that they were serious. 

[00:08:16] What they were doing was not wrong, per se, it was an important step in the journey towards getting the vote.

[00:08:25] That was at least their theory. 

[00:08:29] In one of her many trials at court, Emiline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragettes, told the court, "We are here not because we are law-breakers, we are here in our efforts to become law-makers".

[00:08:46] Some of their actions proved more and more militant, more and more extreme, and ended up costing some of them their lives. 

[00:08:59] In 1913, at the Epsom Derby, a famous horse race in the UK, a Suffragette called Emily Davison rushed onto the track as the horses were running towards her. 

[00:09:14] She was hit by the King's horse and knocked to the ground and died of her injuries a few days after.

[00:09:23] It's still not clear exactly what her motives were here. 

[00:09:28] It didn't seem like she intended to kill herself, and it may have been that she was just trying to put a Suffragette banner, a sort of flag on the King's horse. 

[00:09:42] But whether it was intentional or an accident gone wrong, didn't really matter at the end. 

[00:09:49] It was abundantly clear that the Suffragettes were for real and they would stop at nothing until they got the vote.

[00:10:00] By this time, in 1913 there was much stronger support for the Suffragette movement from men, and it looked likely that the vote would come relatively soon. 

[00:10:13] However, in 1914 the First World War broke out, and of course, that put an end to the Suffragette disruption, as all attentions were focused on the war effort. 

[00:10:29] Although on one level, this stalled the progress of the Suffragette movement, it slowed things down, it actually helped in the background. 

[00:10:41] One of the reasons given for not allowing women the vote was that they weren't as capable as men, they weren't as strong and they weren't as able to have independent thought as men were.

[00:10:57] It obviously seems like nonsense to us now, but at that time it was the prevailing belief, it was what a lot of men thought. 

[00:11:08] Anyway, during the First World War, while men were at the front fighting, things back at home, back in the UK, were kept going by women. 

[00:11:21] Whether it was working in the factories, producing arms, bullets, guns, and so on, or producing food to keep the population fed, it was clear, if it hadn't been already, that women were just as capable as men. 

[00:11:40] And thispaved the way for women to get the vote, it put women on the path towards getting the vote. 

[00:11:48] In February, 1918, while the war was still ongoing, the first women were given the right to vote. 

[00:11:56] However, it wasn't universal. 

[00:11:59] It was restricted to women over the age of 30 who owned property.

[00:12:05] So it was a start, but certainly not what these Suffragettes had fought for. 

[00:12:12] Women had to wait another 10 years, until 1928 for the full rights, which meant that women had exactly the same voting rights as men, so everyone over the age of 21 was able to vote. 

[00:12:29] Just as a side note, you may know that now the voting age in the UK is 18.

[00:12:36] That actually happened in 1970, and of course applied to men and women equally.

[00:12:44] And the Suffragette movement continues to inspire people and be remembered through popular culture. 

[00:12:51] If you've seen the film, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Banks, the mother of the children returns from a march and sings the song "Sister Suffragette".

[00:13:06] And more recently, in February 2019, female Democrat members of the US Congress dressed predominantly in white when they attended President Trump's State of the Union address. 

[00:13:20] And the choice of white was because that was in solidarity with the movement.

[00:13:30] Now, it might seem mad to us that this was what had to be done to grant women just equal voting rights with men, but it seemed that petitioning and peaceful protest wasn't enough to get the job done. 

[00:13:47] And of course, it wasn't just in the UK that similar women's movements existed and that women fought for the vote. 

[00:13:57] The interwar period, the period between World War One and World War Two saw many Western countries give women the vote. 

[00:14:06] Although there were a few notable exceptions.

[00:14:10] France, for example, only gave women the vote in 1944, Greece in 1952 and Switzerland, not until 1971. 

[00:14:22] And of course, unfortunately, there are still a handful of countries where women don't have the same voting rights as men, which I'm sure would have Emiline Pankhurst turning in her grave

[00:14:36] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting dive into the world of the Suffragettes.

[00:14:43] It's a fascinating story, I think. 

[00:14:47] These women were obviously incredibly brave and suffered greatly for their cause, and we all have a lot to thank them for. 

[00:14:56] Just as a final reminder, if you were looking for the transcripts and key vocabulary for the podcast, or for any other podcasts for that matter, you can check that out at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:08] You do need to be a member of Leonardo English to get access to all of this, but that includes bonus podcasts by the way, and of course, supporting the podcast and membership starts at just under two euros a week. 

[00:15:20] So do go and check that out, it's at Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:15:25] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:15:29] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.