Women’s History Month

20th March 2020

Women’s History Month

Women's History Month - March 2020

Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. Below is a list of a few inspirational women who have made a positive impact and fought for women's rights and equality in society. 

Inspirational Women

Emily Pankhurst

Emmeline Goulden was born on 14/07/1858 in Manchester in to a family who believed in traditional politics. In 1879, she married Richard Pankhurst who was a lawyer and part of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections. In October 1903, she helped found militant Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) - an organisation that gained for its activities and whose members were the first to be christened 'suffragettes'. 
Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions over the next few years and even went on hunger strike, resulting in violent force-feeding. In 1913, in response to the wave of hunger strikes, the government passed what became known as the 'Cat and Mouse' Act. Hunger striking prisoners were released until they grew strong again, and then re-arrested.

This period of militancy was ended abruptly on the outbreak of war in 1914, when Emmeline turned her energy to supporting the war. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).

Malala Yousafzai

Malala was born in July 1997 in Pakistan, girls aren’t always seen is a cause for celebration in Pakistan but Malala’s family were determined to give her the best upbringing they could. In 2008, Malala’s father was a teacher and ran a girl’s school however when the Taliban took over control in the town and they banned different things like owning a television and play music along with enforcing punishments on those who don’t obey orders. 2008 was also when the Taliban stopped girls from going to school.

Therefore in 2012, Malala spoke out about how girls should be able to learn and then in October 2012, a gunman asked who Malala was and they shot her.
After months of surgeries and rehabilitation, Malala joined another family in their new home in the U.K. Malala then had to choose between keeping quiet or be determined to fight until every girl could go to school. The Malala Fud was then established, a charity who are dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future they want. Malala then received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and become the youngest-ever winner.

Malala is now studying at Oxford University and still fight to ensure that all girls receive 12 years of free, safe, quality education. She does this by travelling to other countries to meet girls fighting poverty, wars, child marriage and gender discrimination to go to school. Malala work hard to their voices can be heard around the world.

Laverne Cox

Laverne endured homophobic bullying as a child, and has described other children at school calling her names such as “sissy” and “faggot”, as well as being chased home from school. This sadly, lead to a deterioration in Laverne’s mental health and a suicide attempt at the age of 11. All of this was due to Laverne wanting to be someone that others didn’t agree with and where this was a massive stigma.

An actress first and an advocate second, Laverne Cox is a trans rights activist, has helped the trans rights movement and written in a piece in The Times Magazine called ‘The Transgender Tipping Point.’ Laverne featured on Orange Is The New Black becoming the first trans woman of colour to have a leading role in a mainstream TV series which increases awareness of black people on TV and to raise awareness of some of the barriers someone can face when coming out as transgender. Furthermore, she was the first transgender woman to an Emmy award. As well as being on TV both series and reality shows, Laverne is known as being an advocate in the transgender community. Laverne spent months  as a guest speaker at colleges in the US and Canada with a lecture called Ain’t I A Woman. 

‘When I realized I deserve to be seen, to dream, to be fully included, always striving to bring my full humanity'.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank was a teenage Jewish girl who recorded her experiences while going through hiding with her family from Nazis in World War 2. For two years, Anne and her family hid in their annex in Amsterdam before they were found and sent to concertation camps.
Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Frankfurt and lived with her Mum, Dad and sister Magot. They were all Jews and lived religiously in Frankfurt until 1933. When the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, took control of the government in January 1933, the Franks moved to Amsterdam. 
In July 1942, The family began making plans to go into hiding. A week In her diary, Anne described the Secret Annex, saying it had several small rooms and narrow halls. Anne shared a room with Fritz Pfeffer; Otto, Edith and Margot shared another. 
While Anne did describe life in the Secret Annex, she also wrote extensively about her thoughts, feelings, relationships and personal experiences that had nothing to do with the Holocaust or the Franks' situation. Anne sometimes wrote about her struggles. Larisa Klebe, program manager of the Jewish Women’s Archive, said that this personal feature of her writing is part of its appeal.
On Aug. 4, 1944, German police stormed the Secret Annex. Everyone in hiding was arrested. It is unknown how the police discovered the annex. Theories include betrayal, perhaps by the warehouse staff or helper Bep Voskuijl's sister Nelly. In December 2016, the Anne Frank House published a new theorybased on the organization's investigations. 
The residents of the Secret Annex were sent first to the Westerbork transit camp, where they were put in the punishment block. On Sept. 3, 1944, they were sent to Auschwitz. There, the men and women were separated. This was the last time that Anne saw her father. Anne, Margot and Edith remained together, doing hard labor, until Nov. 1, 1944, when Margot and Anne were transferred to Bergen-Belsen in Germany.

Katie Piper

Katie Piper is a best-selling international author, inspirational speaker, TV presenter and charity founder. She rebuilt her life after surviving an attack in March 2008 by her ex-boyfriend and an accomplice which caused major damage to her face and blindness in one eye. Katie went through surgery to restore her face and her vision. From this horrific situation, Katie set up The Katie Piper Foundation which now supports people who are trying to rebuild their lives after suffering with burns through rehabilitation, key relationships with other charities and organisations and to improve outcomes for burns survivors. The Foundation help adult burn survivors alongside the NHS and look at catering to each person’s needs by helping to improve both their physical and mental health. It is inspiring to see how a situation so awful can make a person determined, motivated, resilient to help others in need.