As this year in the UK we're celebrating 100 years since women (of privilege) were given the vote I wanted to create a little something devoted to those who helped us win this victory; the Suffergists and the Suffragettes.
I've always known a good amount about Sufferage, and both the Suffergists and the Suffragettes, but thanks to the focus the cause has gotten due to the anniversary, I've been educating myself down to a deeper level about the individual events and the characters behind the fight for women's liberation towards the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th.
(Did anyone see Lucy Worsley's BBC documentary Suffragettes? I could watch a documentary on almost anything if she was involved, but this one was a particular joy to me.)
"The Young are at the Gates" - National Woman's Party
banner used during the suffrage movement, circa 1913-1920
During this search for a more in-depth knowledge, I came across the above protest banner and the quote it was inspired by.
“The old stiff minds must give way.
The old selfish minds must go.
Obstructive reactionaries must move on.
The young are at the gates!”
- Lavinia Dock, Suffragist, June 30, 1917
Hearing this call to arms from over 100 years ago roused me up, and I knew that this was the line I had to use for my piece. Not only did it match so well with women's suffrage, it felt so relevant to the world at large at this very moment.
With Brexit, Trump and the rise of alt-Right fascists, it often feels that the voice of more liberal minds is losing its power, that the older generations are forcing the young into a future they do not want.
At the same time, the young - Millennials (I'm one of the oldest of this set) and Gen-Y - seem more politically aware, engaged and woke than ever before. They see how the rich are even richer after the worldwide recession, whereas their generations are suffering from even greater levels of inequality than even 20 years before. And in response, they are fighting back.
They are becoming politicians (while the old establishment joke about Millennials in government - the oldest of that generation are in their late 30s!), creating organisations to bring power to those with little in society, and calling out every inaccuracy and falsehood the alt-Right try to spread as truth. I believe that the young, with their strength of conviction and belief in equality, are our salvation.
The young, with their strength of conviction
and belief in equality, are our salvation.
Of course there are more than a few young people with right-wing, authoritarian, racist, homophobic, transphobic (I can't believe TERFs are an actual thing), misogynist - and so on and so on - views. But I really do think they are massively in the minority. Sometimes I worry my feeling there are simply coming from my own little liberal echo-chamber, but when I look at statistics, they do seem to point to continuing progression with younger generations; 71% of those 18-24 voted to Remain in the EU.
I really do feel the young are at the gates of power.
As a further ode to women's suffrage, I've used the colours - green, white and purple - of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). In terms of style, my lettering illustrations are often heavily inspired by Art Nouveau, so it felt only right for the print to echo this style, as it comes from period when the Suffragettes fight was at its pinnacle.
Do you have any favourite quotes from the Suffergists and the Suffragettes? Or from the recent Women's March happening all over the world?