Inspired by Emily Wilding Davison, The Green Party issues a challenge to make history
8 June 2013
Green Party Women joined in the celebrations of the life of Emily Wilding Davison today (Saturday 8th June). Held simultaneously in Victoria Park, east London, and in Morpeth, Northumberland women gathered on what was the exact centenary of her death. She was trampled by the King's horse during the Derby on 4th June whilst possibly trying to attach a 'Votes for Women' banner to his harness. The horse and jockey fell but were unharmed, whilst Wilding Davison died four days later of her injuries.
She is buried in her family plot in the church of St Mary the Virgin in Morpeth, Northumberland with a gravestone bearing the inscription 'Deeds not words'. Green Party Women members laid flowers at her grave, led by local Green Party activist Shirley Ford. Celebrations and activities continue in Northumberland on 15th June, the anniversary of her funeral, and throughout the summer, with the aim of inspiring women and girls.
Emily may have attended the regular rallies in Victoria Park organised by East London Federation of Suffragettes. It was fitting, then, that the East London Feminists held a march from Mile End to Victoria Park followed by a rally and a picnic. Sarah Cope, Chair of Green Party Women, spoke at the rally of the need to address the fact that women are still outnumbered by men by four to one in British politics.
Sarah said, "We have a responsibility to stand up and shout out not only about what needs to change, but how it needs to change. Those of you who are members of political parties, I say to you, what's stopping YOU from standing in the 2015 General Election? We need women candidates, we need women MPs. If women like us do not stand, and do not encourage other women to stand, who, I ask you, will?"
She continued, "To those who say they are not good enough to be an MP, I generally reply: look at SOME of the people currently in parliament. And then ask yourself: do you honestly think you couldn't do a better job than those utterly inept, and not to mention, corrupt buffoons?"
Sarah concluded by saying, "I hereby issue a challenge to the other political parties: let's see who can field the highest percentage of women candidates! As I said, the Green Party is aiming for 'AT LEAST 50%' women. Notice the words 'AT LEAST'! What's stopping you from doing the same?"
"Let's make history. Emily Wilding Davison and other magnificent Suffragettes paved the way and oh, how grateful we are for that. Now it's our turn to continue that difficult, exciting work."