Forming Coalitions

Drawing for Suffrage

Origins: Forming Coalitions


Portrait of Lydia Becker, Susan Isabel Dacre, c. 1860-1910, Art UK

Lydia Becker founded the first national group to campaign for women's rights, National Society for Women's Suffrage, but diverse groups emerged, creating disparate tensions. 

Crowd Heckler: "Who is going to make all the puddings and pies if girls are going to be educated?​​​​​​​" 

Becker: "No true man should want to be the husband of a domestic slave."
~ Interaction in Becker's Speech, 1866


NUWSS Pamphlet, National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, 1908, British Library 

Millicent Garrett Fawcett ​​​​​​​founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) as a national umbrella organization. NUWSS members, known as suffragists, aimed to achieve political equality through nonviolent measures.

           Millicent Fawcett, LSE Library, LSE


WSPU Leaders, Flickr LSE Collection

​​​​​​​Women who favored militant actions over peaceful protests formed the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU)Emmeline Pankhurst led WSPU suffragettes and promoted militant action among working class women of socialist sympathies.

Women' Social and Political Union, Alison Williamson Writings

"The meaning of the WSPU colours were described as white for purity in public as well as private life, purple for dignity and self-respect and green for hope and new life. Although they were originally an organisational device to distinguish the WSPU from other suffrage organisations, they soon took on much broader meanings of sisterhood and solidarity in the struggle."
Marian Sawer, Emeritus Professor and Public Policy Fellow at  Australian National Univerisity College of Arts and Social Sciences, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Magazine 2015

Early EffortsArt for Political Action