Today I was able to my vote in the UK General Election registered as female for the very first time. In doing so I felt an enormous amount of pride in myself for having come so far in my own journey over the last year. However, upon further reflection I realised that it means a great deal more than that, only 90 years ago this would have been a right I would have lost in my societal transition from male to female.
The Suffrage Movement
Earlier today organisers of the Women’s March London wrote on Twitter “104 years ago today. Emily Wilding Davison dies in struggle to win women the vote. Use it.”
— Women’s March London (@womensmarchlon) 8 June 2017
Emily Davison ducked under the barrier at the Epsom Derby on June 4, 1913 and stepped out in from of King George V’s horse. Waving a scarf marked with the suffragette logo she was trampled by the horse, fracturing her skull and causing other internal injuries which led to her death 4 days later.
In the fight for ‘The Cause’ (a term used at the time in reference to women’s fight for equality, primarily the right to vote) many women were imprisoned with harsh sentences and treated improperly, such as Lady Constance Lytton who was imprisoned and force-fed.
In 1918 women over 30 who met certain criteria were allowed to vote. It was not until 1928 when a law was passed that allowed women to vote with the same right as men.
Equality For Women in 2017
Still to this day we, as a society, do not have equality for women. Most notably the overall gender pay gap is still at 18%.
There are also shortfalls across many other areas and great work is being done by activists, both men and women, to bring society closer to equality for women.
Respect Women and Respect History
With a history of struggle and vast inequality in such recent times transgender women must show this respect and gratitude to the women who have bravely fought for equality and show understanding of the place in society that women hold, the place that trans women are too part of.
I credit this article to the women of the Suffrage movement and to the women who still fight today for equality.
A special thanks goes to my mum, who recently educated me on the important history of women’s rights and it’s importance to all women today.