Staff and students from the University of Salford took part in a march to St Peter’s Square to see the unveiling of a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst.
On 14th December 2018, exactly a hundred years since the first women voted in the General Election in the UK, the march honoured a pivotal moment in democratic history.
Dr Nadine Watson, Co-Chair of the Women’s Voice network from the University of Salford, believes it’s important for students to attend the event.
She said: “Whether you’re a business student or a media and art student, no matter where you come from, understanding why it’s easy for women to come to university, for women or to have the vote, it’s really important to understand our past and these are our ancestors who worked really hard for us to have this freedom.”
Hundreds of supporters gathered in Great Northern Square wearing suffragette coloured green and purple sashes with the slogan “Votes for Women” and chanted “deeds not words”.
As supporters arrived at St Peter’s Square, Manchester Community Choir provided an uplifting welcome as they sang a selection of songs including the ‘Pankhurst Anthem’.
The crowds were addressed by Councillor Andrew Simcock, Helen Pankhurst as well as Hazel Reeves, who designed the statue which represents Pankhurst when she was campaigning in the early 20th century, depicting her standing on top of a chair to address those gathered around her.
The ‘Our Emmeline’ project was set up by Councillor Andrew Simcock and is part of a campaign launched in 2014 to commission a new female statue in the city to celebrate the contribution of women in Manchester.
A shortlist of 20 female icons were shortlisted and over 5000 people participated in an open vote. The public overwhelmingly voted for Emmeline Pankhurst and ‘Our Emmeline’ has become the city’s second statue which represents a woman- the first being a monument of Queen Victoria located in Piccadilly Gardens.
Dr Watson added: “As a university from the Manchester area were really proud to be involved and it’s a great occasion to march into the city altogether as one and see the statue.
Women in Manchester are strong and independent so let’s celebrate their success.”