100 Years of Suffrage... How Far Have We Come? Featured

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On the 4th June 1913 Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the King’s Horse as a statement of protest to women not having the right to vote in Britain. She died as a result. In the past 100 years much has legally and culturally changed for women’s equality and rights. But how far has it really come? Did our freedom fighting Suffragettes enable women of 2013 to stand shoulder to shoulder to men? Or are women still chained to the shackles of stereotypes and prejudice that have haunted them for the past millennia?

On the face of it women are far better off that they were 100 years ago: our primary functions now extend further than getting knocked up and pushing out the odd sprog or two. We can vote; see Miss Pankhurst we got there in the end!  We have the right to equal pay, to equal opportunities, we are able to provide ourselves with contraception and even if decided we do want to have a baby, employers can’t say sh*t. We’ve even had a female Prime Minster, although maybe the less said about that, the better.

However, scratch a little beneath the surface and the water is still pretty murky when it comes to women’s rights. There are those that say that, despite the equality laws that have been passed, having a child is still detrimental to your career, as employers will still see you as a rather expensive liability. There’s also the fact that women are still highly sexualized in Western society. Most adverts, music videos and magazines are sold through the physical appeal of a woman’s body. To cap it all off women in Britain are still highly unrepresented in Parliament with women only making up 17.4 % of the cabinet. 

On the other hand, there are those who say that all of the above are due to the choices women have made for themselves. It is a woman’s decision to give up her career in order to have a child. It is a woman’s choice to dress provocatively and in this 21st century world, they should be able to wear what we like, when we like and not have to answer for it. There is also the argument that women are unrepresented in high power jobs because they don’t want high pressure jobs that are so normally dominated by men.

 As a woman I find the equality question very difficult. I’m very thankful that I have my legal rights as opposed to some areas of the world women have none and are still seen as the official property of men. However that doesn’t mean that every time I wear a low cut top, men are allowed to stare freely at my chest.  Nor do I feel that my career aspirations should hampered if I decide that one day I want a mini-me. Although Miss Davidson's actions seem a little melodramatic I’m glad she had the guts to stand up in what she believed in  and that I was born into a time where women don’t have to throw themselves under horses for their voices to be heard.

 

 

Joanna Bateson-Hill

Originating from Brixton, London, I study Theatre and Performance at University of Leeds. I love everything to do with film, theatre and most of all writing, with the occasional bit of swimming thrown in for good measure. I hope to write articles that make people laugh but also make them think. To me, writing is a fun, cheap and healthier form of therapy. I hope that people have as much fun reading my articles as I do writing them, which is a lot.

Website: brixton-rose.blogspot.co.uk/

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