Record number of women elected to parliament on anniversary of Emily Davison's death
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I remember the first time I watched Emily Davison step to her death. I still feel the same way now, watching it again, as I did at 12 – that there is some ghoulish quality, something uncomfortably voyeuristic, that accompanies the viewing of that grainy, confused clip. Of course, that’s why Emily Davison did what she did: for the voyeurs. On the 4th June 1913, the suffragette who had endured more than 40 forced feedings during her numerous hunger strikes in prison demonstrated once more that her physical welfare was second to her resolute belief in women’s right to vote. So it was that merely another onlooker at the Epsom Derby became its most notable attendee – breaking through the crowd and ducking under the railing to step in front of the oncoming King’s horse, hoping to draw attention to the suffragette cause at one of the most vital public events of the social calendar.
The funeral of Emily Davison // Wiki CommonsYesterday’s election coincided with the anniversary of Davison’s death (she finally succumbed to her injuries four days after the Derby, in Epsom Cottage Hospital.) Papers including The Telegraph and the Metro marked the anniversary with explanations of Davison’s life, death, and significance, while many social media users commemorated her accordingly, taking to Twitter to remind those who may be less inclined to vote of the importance that they do so – as one user, @thenamesnicola put it, Emily Davison ‘didn’t chuck herself in front of a horse for u to turn round 100 years later n say you’re not voting cos ya can’t be arsed [sic]’.
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