Google Doodle Honors the Incredible Suffragist Millicent Fawcett
The Google Doodle featured in the UK today celebrates the work of Millicent Fawcett, who was born on this day in 1847.
In 1866, at 19 years old, she was collecting signatures on a petition for women’s votes (too young to sign herself). She led the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies for 22 years, a political mission she campaigns for on grounds of non-violence rather than the militancy of the suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst. Both factions were undeniable essential to the movement, and this year is the 100th anniversary of the first extension of women’s suffrage—the Representation of the People Act 1918 gave women over 30 who owned property the vote.
Her bronze statue in Parliament Square, is the first statue there commemorating a woman.
Fawcett is best known as a suffragist, but she was also a co-founder of Newnham College, the second Cambridge university college to admit women in 1875. In 1902, she was the leader of a commission of women sent to South Africa to investigate the concentration camps of the Second Boer War. Other campaigns she fought for included the fight against sexual double standards in the Contagious Diseases Acts which disproportionately and cruelly punished sex workers. She wrote on women’s education, published a biography of Josephine Butler, and more.
In the Doodle sketches by Pearl Law, you can see Fawcett’s famous quote: “Courage calls for courage everywhere, and its voice cannot be denied.”
The Fawcett Society, formerly the London Society for Women’s Suffrage has continued her work. They’re fighting to close the gender pay gap, secure equal power in government, challenge attitude, and defend women’s rights post-Brexit.
Happy birthday, Millicent Fawcett!
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