Emmeline Pankhurst’s USA Speech. Perfect for International Women’s Day

Women in South Africa, March 2017, celebrating after RenewYou

Happy International Women’s Day! Oh, how I long for the day when the idea of having an International Women’s Day seems ridiculous because women across the world enjoy full equality in all spheres of life with men. One day…

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the women who have gone before us and fought for women’s rights, to those still fighting, and to those generations yet to come. Some days I feel we haven’t travelled very far, and then on others I am so heartened by the stories I get sent and read in the press, of the achievements of women across the world. It is still not easy to thrive in world designed to suit men but the times they are a’changing. Women are being listened to and finally, it seems, people (both men and women) are beginning to understand what some of us have been banging on about for most of our lives. Here’s to them on International Women’ Day.

On 13 November 1913, Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Women’s Social and Political Union, delivered this speech in Hartford, Connecticut. Mrs Pankhurst was in the United States while on temporary release under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913, more commonly known as the Cat and Mouse Act. (The ‘Cat and Mouse Act’ allowed prisoners so weakened by being on hunger strike to be released to get well, at which time they were promptly rearrested to serve out the rest of their sentence. So humane, eh?)

Emmeline was in the United States to raise money for the WSPU and drew parallels between the struggle of the Suffragettes and the causes of the American War of Independence. It seems an appropriate day to share it.

If the link doesn’t open for you can go directly here where you can also read a transcript of the speech. It’s under 5 minutes long.

P.S. If you fancy a sing song today, and why not, here’s a rousing number that never fails to get my blood pumping. It’s Helen Reddy singing I Am Woman. An anthem for women every where, but especially today.

 

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

Songwriters
BURTON, RAY / REDDY, HELEN

Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Here’s the link to that video.

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Posted on March 8th, 2018 by

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