To celebrate the centenary of the partial right to vote and in advance of International Women’s Day, Asia House is delighted to host an evening discussion on the vital role of Asian women in the Suffragette Movement and beyond.
Helen Pankhurst, women’s rights activist and great granddaughter of Emmeline, will be in conversation with award-winning author Shahida Rahman.
It is clear that a lot has changed for women over the past 100 years. From the early 20th Century Suffragette movement through to this year’s #metoo and Time’s Up campaigns, there is no doubt that progress has been made in providing women with more of a platform to be heard.
However, as women’s movements continue to come under fire for their lack of diversity, this is also reflected in the historical examination of women’s suffrage, where the contribution of Asian women is often overlooked.
Shahida and Helen will be in conversation, discussing the Asian women that have emerged through their respective research, taking a long lens into the past but also looking at women’s experiences today. This will start with the role of the Asian Suffragettes Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and Bhikaiji Cama and also explore other pioneers such as Mrs Desai who fought for equal pay and trade union acknowledgement in the Grunwick dispute. Beyond the experiences of famous Asian women the discussion will involve the audience in exploring issues of continuity and change in the position of Asian women in Britain; as well as the hopes and aspirations to 2028 – the centenary of equal franchise.
About the speakers
Helen Pankhurst is a women’s rights activist and senior advisor to the humanitarian and development agency CARE International, a Board member of ActionAid, a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE and a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University. Helen has undertaken re-enactment work for current day awareness raising including at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 film Suffragette and leading the annual #March4Women on International Women’s Day in London.
Her book Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now, is being published by Sceptre on the 6 February 2018.
Shahida Rahman is an award-winning author of historical fiction, non-fiction and short stories. Her highly-acclaimed novel Lascar was published in 2012. Shahida is also director and co-founder of Perfect Publishers. As a freelance writer, she contributes to print and on-line publications. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post, an engaging public speaker and local campaigner.
Image: Left, Helen Pankhurst, ©Guy Bell/CARE, Right, Shahida Rahman.