Gtgt Narrator Stories from Parliament Votes for Women Part 1 A crowd of marching women in a London Street chanting DEEDS NOT WORDS! DEEDS NOT WORDS! DEEDS NOT WORDS! gtgt Constance Deeds, not words. That was our cry. That day in 1909 we suffragettes were marching to Parliament to demand the vote for women that women as well as men should be allowed to vote in electing our government. Our Prime Minister, Mr Asquith, had promised it should be so, but now he’d had second thoughts he feared that too many.
Women might vote against his party, and bring his government down! So he did precisely nothing! Cries of DEEDS NOT WORDS! ring out loudly again gtgt Constance That cry of ours meant two things instead of mere promises that the vote would be given to women, we wanted the government to do as they’d said and if they wouldn’t, then we were willing to act as well as speak in protest We’d come from our meeting in a nearby hall Fades to sounds of crowded but echoing hall. gtgt Constance.and the words we’d heard from our movement’s leader, Mrs Pankhurst,.
Were still ringing in my ears. gtgt Pankhurst We shall be marching to Parliament not as lawbreakers, but because women should be lawmakers! Loud cheering. gtgt Constance My name is Constance Lytton. My full name is Lady Constance BulwerLytton. Some people thought it strange that I, from a family of the ruling class, should ever have been a part of such a crowd. But Mrs Pankhurst was a wellborn lady too, and listen to what she said next gtgt Pankhurst A society that allows women no part in decisionmaking, cannot flourish.
Suffragettes Stories from Parliament Part 1 of 2
Beyond the home, what lives are we permitted Important posts are barred to us in all professions. Posts in government are just for men. Yet all their decisions affect women. They must either do us justice, by giving us the vote, or do us violence! Cheers in the hall. gtgt Constance When we reached the Houses of Parliament, lines of policemen barred our march. Some women broke through, and chained themselves to the railings by the entrance. Meanwhile I was still outside, wedged by the crowd behind me, nose to nose with a policeman.
Gtgt Policeman Back! Back! Keep back! I’m only doing my duty! gtgt Constance Yes, and we are doing ours! gtgt Policeman You should be ashamed of yourselves! Go home, the lot of you, and behave like women! gtgt Constance Like women gtgt Policeman Yeah, get home and do the washing! gtgt Constance I must see Mr Asquith, I mean to see the Prime Minister! gtgt Policeman I don’t think so, you’re coming with me! gtgt Constance is grabbed by officer Ah! gtgt Constance And I was marched to the nearest police station, and from there to court, where.
I was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment. The clanging of a prison door. gtgt Constance And it was there, in Holloway Prison, that I truly realised why our cause was so important, why women had to be allowed to vote to change things. For now I was mixing with women whose lives we could improve women without money for their children’s food and even if they found work, their pay was half that of a man’s! Cell door opens. gtgt Constance I remember on my very first night, the prison chaplain came to my cell.
Gtgt Chaplain I’m surprised that a lady of your class feels the need to interfere in politics. gtgt Constance I am a woman. What women face in life is not understood by men, yet men are the only lawmakers! gtgt Chaplain So they are, and gtgt Constance So women’s concerns are always put to one side, forgotten. gtgt Chaplain I didn’t come here to discuss your views. Here, I’m told you may have these. The rustle of paper. gtgt Constance What Letters, from my family gtgt Chaplain Indeed. gtgt Constance But prisoners are not allowed to have them.
Gtgt Chaplain Oh, I think we can make an exception in your case, my lady. gtgt Constance I want no privilege! gtgt Chaplain You prefer to stay in all this stink gtgt Constance Stink! Yes, that is the right word! gtgt Chaplain There’s no air in here. gtgt Constance Indeed there isn’t. gtgt Chaplain How will you bear it, my lady gtgt Constance upset I am not sure I will. gtgt Constance with resolve And we’re condemned to this merely for demanding the vote! She bangs the tin mug against the bars on her door and shouts.
Gtgt Constance Votes for women! Votes for women! The cry is taken up along the wing, and more inmates bang their mugs against the bars. gtgt Constance But I have a confession. Because I have a heart condition, I gave in. I finally accepted the offer, and spent most of my month out of the stink and in the prison hospital. I was ashamed of myself. I decided that, as soon as I was released, I’d be marching with the suffragettes again. And if it landed me in prison a second time, I’d make sure.