A century of progress: Votes for Women and a celebration of Alice Hawkins.

By Molly Kerridge

A museum in Leicester is celebrating the hundred-year anniversary of a women’s rights milestone with an exhibition on Alice Hawkins and Votes for Women.

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Artefacts such as clothing and sashes involved in the campaigning, on display in the exhibition.

A century ago today, the first ever general election allowing female voters in Britain took place as a result of years of campaigning by the Suffragettes.

One of the campaigners was Alice Hawkins of Leicester, who joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1907, and quickly became the leading figure in the Leicester branch.

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery opened an exhibition dedicated to the efforts for women’s rights on October 27, and is open until the February 24 next year.

Karen Shelton, a casual worker at the museum, said: “With how people were years ago, they didn’t have any standing at all, ladies and women, so I think that it is very important that it is made available and knowledgeable to everyone.

“Everything is very slow in England I think, but I think we’ve actually got there in the end.”

The exhibition shows the history of the Votes for Women movement, with artefacts such as the hunger strike medal given to Hawkins and informative displays on the campaign as a whole, as well as her involvements in Leicester.

The aim of the exhibition is to inform the public, but to also hopefully inspire a new generation to seek out ways to progress even more.

Mrs Shelton added: “If people have got the knowledge or want the knowledge, they’ll find it no matter the circumstances, but yes, exhibitions such as this help along the way.”

The information is being exhibited at the museum free of charge, along with a statue of Alice Hawkins that was created and displayed in Leicester Market Place.

 

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