Historian and Feminist Scholar Gerda Lerner
When women were campaigning for the right to vote, they’d go on hunger strikes.
And what the police would do would be to grab them up, tie them to a chair, and ram a feeding tube down their throat. The clamps and tubes they used tore up the womens’ mouths. Sometimes the tube would go into the woman’s lungs. Then the woman might die of pneumonia. After women dying in jail became distasteful, they’d let the ill women go for a short period to recuperate in the community, then come and arrest them again.
Also suffragette protestors were beaten. Viciously. By the police. There’s all these pictures of smiling suffragettes having parades— they were risking their lives, some of them died. The police would come and beat them and sexually assault them. There aren’t many pictures of that, the newspapers wouldn’t run them, or the local government wouldn’t let them.
They also chained themselves to shit, they set buildings on fire and smashed in windows, they followed politicians around shouting abuse, this one british woman threw herself under king george’s horse to be a martyr—they were violent. They were met with violence and they replied with violence. And a lot of them died.
Then black women had to fight the same fucking fight all over again.
That’s what I think about when men say they gave us the right to vote.