Friday, July 3, 2015

5 famous speeches by women who fought for women's votes

The women around the world who fought for votes for women did so in part because they were often forbidden to speak in public--even at conferences where they were official delegates. Getting the vote, to them, meant getting a voice in public..something you might think about, eloquent women, when you have the chance to vote. Their speeches in this collection from The Eloquent Woman's Index of Famous Speeches by Women are by turns funny, poetic, fierce, and well-argued--just what we expect from eloquent women. We have speakers here from five different nations. Enjoy these historic and heartfelt speeches (and don't forget to vote):
  1. Denmark's Jutta Bojsen-Møller, a longtime activist for women's votes, gave the victory speech after the Danish parliament ratified votes for women and other disenfranched citizens in 1915. At age 78 when she gave this speech, she'd waited a long time to say her piece.
  2. America's Susan B. Anthony asked "Is it a crime for a U.S. citizen to vote?" This speech was intended to make the case for an experiment in which she was arrested for voting in an election at a time when women were forbidden to do so.
  3. Canadian suffragist Nellie McClung stole the show in a 1914 mock debate titled "Should Men Vote?" It took the real words of men who opposed votes for women and turned the tables, so all could hear just how ridiculous the opposition sounded. That's still a smart tactic today.
  4. England's Emmeline Pankhurst, a great force for women's votes, gave her "Freedom or Death" speech in America, where she came to escape more jail time and to raise funds. The title sums up her opinion on the stakes in the quest for women's votes.
  5. Egypt's Huda Shaarawi opened the first Arab Feminist Conference in 1944 speaking of all rights for women, including voting, and was an early voice busting the myth that Islam is not compatible with modern feminism.
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