On May 7th the British people will vote in the general elections. As I was trying to decide who to vote for, I realised how lucky I was that I could vote at all.
A century ago, British women did not have the right to vote. Many women felt that this was unfair so they became members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). These women were known as the Suffragettes.
The Suffragettes wanted to be able to vote so they protested in many ways. Some women chained themselves to railings while others went on hunger strike. In my hometown, Epsom, one Suffragette called Emily Davison lost her life to the cause.
Epsom is famous for a horserace called the Derby. Every year the Queen comes to watch the race. In 1913, the Queen’s grandfather, George V attended the Derby. Emily Davison also went to the Derby that year to protest for women’s suffrage. As the King’s horse came galloping down the race track, Emily Davison stepped in front of the horse. She died four days later from her injuries.
Historians debate whether Emily Davison intended to make herself a martyr for the Suffragettes. Some people believe that she just wanted to tie a Suffragette flag on the horse. Doctors also found a return train ticket in her purse which suggests that she did not want to die. All I can conclude is that she must have truly believed in votes for women to have attempted something so dangerous.
When I cast my vote on May 7th, I will be thinking about Emily Davison who died in my hometown so I could have a say in how my country is run.
Are you interested in politics? Have you ever voted in an election at school or in a government election?