Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

Emily Wilding Davison’s Birthday

Emily Wilding Davison

Emily Wilding Davison

Emily Wilding Davison was born on 11th Oct 1872, she was one of the most famous suffragettes – she defied the odds many times, she stood up for what she believed in, even when women could not gain a degree from Oxford University, her result exam result was a first class honours.

Emily believed in the rights of women, Victorian society wasn’t the best place for articulate, clever women – in fact any women – to progress. The fact that all woman were denied the right to vote drove her on. Emily had a battle on her hands to convince those in power – especially when the monarch (Queen Victoria) did not believe that women should involve themselves in politics, which was ironic when you think she had regular audiences with the Prime Minister, was informed about crucial and critical matters of state and she oversaw Britain’s great empire.

Emily was angered by discrimination and the fact that women were not treated equal to men. She has rightly taken her place in history. She spoke up for women, she wanted to bring about change and she paid the ultimate price following injuries she sustained at the 1913 derby.

Moving on just over hundred years since her death, women still have many challenges – which I am sure Emily would be at the forefront of championing. She would be a strong campaigner for women’s rights, she would want us all – men and women to unite to tackle violence against women and girls. I hope that she would be proud that it was our region that established the first regional violence against women and girls strategy, in partnership with my PCC colleagues, Barry Coppinger and Ron Hogg.

The strategy sets out how we will provide support to those who suffer domestic and sexual abuse, we have better trained officers and superb after care and we will do everything we can to bring perpetrators before the courts. As we mark Emily’s birthday, I am confident that she would be on our side, she would be a strong advocate of ending violence against women and girls.

As we say thank you to Emily for her commitment to getting women the vote, lets join together to end violence against women and girls now, so future generations don’t have to fight a battle that should be consigned to history.