Suffragette film review by Lesley Clarke

  |  Published: Oct 17th 2015
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This week marks the release of Suffragette, a major new film starring Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan.

Lesley Clarke OBE, a county councillor in Buckinghamshire, is at the forefront of a national campaign to celebrate suffragettes and suffragists in the run-up to 2018, the centenary of women gaining the vote. Here is her review of the film:

I went to see Suffragette this week as part of my quest nationally to try to find 100 women, such as Maud Watts and Violet Miller, who were working class heroines fighting for universal suffrage. 

And I was delighted that the film showed it was women from all strata of society, not merely the wealthy, who were involved in the fight, and that in some cases their husbands supported their efforts.

I was interested in the film as I am involved with the Women's Local Government Society, which has come together with Buckinghamshire County Council, the Local Government Association, the National Association of Civic Offices and Civic Voice. We want to find 100 such women and/or men, as those portrayed in this film, to acknowledge their vital work to obtain the vote. 

Let us remember too that the real-life suffragists were just as feisty as those shown in the film and in most instances they did not break the law…or were not caught!

In 2018, it will be 100 years since property-owning women over the age of 30 and all men received the vote.  Why can’t we today then properly acknowledge the efforts of those who fought to extend our democracy via the 1918 Representation of the People Act, and then went on to participate in the opportunities it created?

Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter lit up the big screen in what was a fantastic film. I really enjoyed it, particularly for the reason it appeared so compellingly realistic and because it made the heroines and heroes of yesterday live again.

Perhaps these people could be your Grandmother, Aunt, or male family member?  If so, let us have supportive information on them and we can add them to a list, and maybe they will be one of those 100 we are hoping to recognise in October 2018?

As Suffragette showed us, they helped win democracy for millions – sometimes at an enormous price to themselves. Now it’s our turn to try to give them something back.

·   Contact: if you want to nominate a suffragette or suffragist for recognition


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