SUFFRAGETTE

Suffragette poster

As a woman and especially – a black woman – fighting for rights is something I have heard and read about my whole life.

More than 170 countries — about 90 percent — still have laws and policies on the books that end up denying women and girls the same rights and protections enjoyed by their male counterparts.  Even fewer than 20 have female heads of state or government. Although women make up about half the global population, they account for only about 1 in 5 members of parliament. Half of all women are in paid employment, and wage disparities are a universal problem.

As recent as last week, Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence publicly declared her disenchantment regarding the gross differences in wages for actresses versus actors.  A little known fact that was blown sky-high when the Sony Pictures Corporation computer system was hacked revealing unscrupulous emails between executives, as well as, negotiated salaries for a few of Hollywood’s well-known stars.

Suffragette_rights

In “Suffragette”, this stirring story centers on Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she’s secretly recruited to join the UK’s suffragette movement spearheaded by British activist Emmeline Pankhurst.

Even with powerful performances lead by Mulligan, Streep and Helena Bonham-Carter, and as intriguing as this subject is…the film itself is a little slow-moving getting its message across. However, it beautifully illustrates the passion and heartbreak of those thousands of women who risked everything they all for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their families, their children and even their lives.

In fact, after colliding with Anmer, suffragette Emily Davison collapsed unconscious on the track during the Derby at the Epsom raceourse in 1913.  Davison died of her injuries four days later in Epsom Cottage Hospital.

At the funeral of the leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in 1928, the jockey who had ridden Anmer that day, Herbert Jones, laid a wreath “to do honor to the memory of Mrs Pankhurst and Miss Emily Davison”.   Jones had suffered a mild concussion in the 1913 collision, but afterwards claimed he was “haunted by that poor woman’s face”.  In 1951, his son found Jones dead in a gas-filled kitchen. The jockey had killed himself.

Meryl Streep is stellar as usual in the cameo role of Emmeline Pankhurst, but I think it is safe to say that this film belongs to Carey Mulligan as Maud Watts.  Watts makes you empathize with every single emotion Maud encounters on the journey for women’s right.  The moment when she finds herself losing her son is one that haunts me even as I write.

Women’s rights are an ongoing struggle around the world and it is my sincere hope that through the release of Suffragette women will once again rally and fight until the war on equality is finally won.

Suffragette opened on October 23rd in limited release is is nationwide TODAY.  For more info on the film and the current women’s movement log on to Fight’s Not Over.

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