A review by Pheebs, our sixth former reviewer and blogger
Feminism as it should be written and written about…
Informative, engaging and extensive, Rise Up, Women! is an incredible tribute to the cause that claimed so much suffering from many brave women and men. In this age of #MeToo and rising feminist concerns, it is more important than ever to remember the basic human rights that should be afforded to both sexes, and the sacrifices made for them.
Everyone knows about Emily Davison’s famous dash onto the racecourse and the Pankhursts’ campaign for the vote, but, with my incredibly limited primary-school knowledge, I had no idea about the intricacies of the ‘Votes for Women’ movement, nor the vast range of people involved.
Rise Up, Women! explores the militant suffragette movement from its conception in 1903 to its first victory in receiving the first form of the women’s vote in 1918, ricocheting through a range of events, such as the window-smashing, the constant fines and prison sentences, the horrors of force-feeding and the street brawls, which took place between the suffragettes attempting to reach a place of authority and the police, using immense brutality, preventing them from reaching any goal.
From the correct pronunciation of ‘suffragette’ to the colour scheme of white, green and purple used to promote the cause, this book is thorough and exquisitely referenced. At the end of the book, there is a useful short timeline as well, for the major political and WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) events, as well as the lives of the suffragettes after getting the vote.
In addition to the fascinating content, the style of writing is also superb, as it is engaging, clear and very readable; something not necessarily shared by many biographical texts. I had little difficulty in reading the events and actions of the suffragettes, and, unlike many parts of history with which I feel disassociated, I felt myself drawn to the undeniably human struggles of the women a century ago.
If you’re looking for a slim text to carry around on a day out, this probably isn’t the book for you, clocking in at around 570 pages. But if you’ve got an afternoon or two free, it’s well worth the time.
Rise Up, Women! sensitively and empathically pays homage to those who gave up their freedom, their physical and mental health, and even their lives for the vote. We owe them a great deal, and the suffragettes brought about a cornerstone that is one point on a long path of new freedoms that is still continuing today.