On Sunday 4 February 2018, hundreds of women and men braved the cold to take part in a march to mark the hundredth anniversary of women achieving the right to vote. The march, which was organised by the Women’s Equality Party, started on Humberstone Gate and ended in the market square where a statue of Alice Hawkins was unveiled.
Alice Hawkins was a leading figure in the suffragettes, a movement which campaigned for women’s voting rights by campaigning and carrying out various acts of protest. Alice lived in Leicester and worked in a shoe factory on Western Road. Her great-grandson Peter Barratt spoke at the statue unveiling, explaining how the suffragettes bravely fought for women’s rights, Alice herself being sent to prison five times for her beliefs. He ended his speech by saying “Never let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t count.”
Other speakers at the event included City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and MP for Leicester West Liz Kendal. A city councillor played the part of Alice herself, addressing the crowd with a rousing speech describing an incident where Alice and other suffragettes carved a message into the turf of a Leicester Gold Course saying “No votes for women, no golf for men.” Other statues of leading suffragettes are to be unveiled in London and Manchester.
More information about Alice and the suffragettes is available