Suffragettes

I know it’s not the same thing but there are a lot of parallels between today’s political machinations and the challenges faced by the suffragettes: disenfranchisement of a large part of the population, a feeling of unfairness, not being listened to and a string of simplistic solutions to very complicated problems.  I see this because I have just finished the Book ‘The Ascent of Woman’ by Melanie Phillips.

The right for votes for women has been of interest to me for some time now, in part as my home town was the birth place of Emily Davidson, one of the leading players in the suffragette movement.  I have blogged about her a couple of times already.  It is the kind of history I wish I had been taught at school.  The issue of universal suffrage has been resolved but not the one of equality.  Just look at the number of women coming into the tech industries.

There are also parallels between the movement and what happens at work today.  It would seem that our places of employment are the only places where dictatorship, autocracy and serfdom are still accepted.  This shouldn’t be.  If democracy, even in its loosest form, is good enough to decide the fate of a nation should those who give their time and commitment to a venture not have some say in its future and direction?

The suffragettes resolved that every human being whose property or labour is taxed was entitled to a share in government.  The energies of these women were to be changed into revolt against their gilded subjugation and against the men who kept them there.

I resolve that all those whose labour and intelligence is used to further the cause of where I work are entitled to a say in its future.  What I am going to do yet I’m not quite sure.  I am often told that the workplace is not a democracy but why not?  A democratic society still has leaders and it still has people whose role it is to make decisions on behalf of the population and so why should work be any different?

As Ellice Hopkins wrote ‘You will never find a permanently progressive race where the position of women is low, the men libertine and the state of society corrupt’.  Perhaps we will never be a truly progressive organisation unless we involve all of the people in its development.

I need to dig out my purple white and green tie.

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