It is hard to imagine, but just 100 years ago women could not vote in most places around the world. On February 9, 1907 the Mud March took place with over 3,000 women who fought the elements to march through the dirt streets of London. Organized by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), the Mud March was one of the first widespread and unifying processions orchestrated by the suffragists.
Most of the prominent suffragists of the day took part in the March, including Millicent Fawcett, who co-led the event, Lady Strachey, Lady Frances Balfour, Pippa Strachey, and Keir Hardie. Many of these suffragists came from various organizations using different tactics to achieve the same goal. However, two things united them: the belief in universal suffrage for all women, and the necessity to publicize their cause.
The event was successful, as many people lined the streets to watch the women, immaculately dressed regardless of social class, drudge through mud to make their political statement. Newspapers heavily reported the event, furthering the event’s impact on civil society and placing pressure on the government to take action. Unfortunately, women did not get the right to vote in the United Kingdom and United States until the 1920’s, and only after going through some other horrid ordeals including brutal arrests and force feedings. Take a moment to celebrate the largely forgotten heroes that suffered to make the world a better place.