East End women have changed the world. From the match women of Bow to the Ford factory machinists of Dagenham, the women of East London have fought for their rights, their beliefs, their families and their communities.
Here in Redbridge there was Sylvia Pankhurst who set up the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS) in 1914 in Bow. Sylvia separated from the work of her mother and sister in the WSPU as she believed that working class women had as much power as middle and upper class women in the fight for suffrage; Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst did not agree.
The ELFS was made up of working class women and focused on issues relevant to working class women; they built a mass movement for equality in all areas, not just suffrage. They fought for things that were relevant to working class women at the time – they set up an affordable nursery; a relief programme providing milk; lobbied for price controls; opened a toy factory that employed men and women on an equal footing; etc. They also adopted new tactics such as lobbying and mass mobilisation, rather than the single heroic acts favoured by the WSPU.For events in Redbridge see here.
And while we are on the subject let’s remember and celebrate two early pioneers of the technology you are using to read this: Hedy Lamarr who laid the foundations for Wifi and Ada Lovelace the mother of programming.
nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton