Thousands march to central Manchester for the unveiling of Emmeline Pankhurst statue

  • Thousands marched to Manchester city centre today to witness the unveiling of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue
  • Today marks 100 years since women were able to vote in general elections

Spirits were high today in Manchester as people gathered to march to St Peter’s Square to mark the unveiling of a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst.

Today marks 100 years since women were able to vote in general elections, hence the date was chosen to unveil this very special statue.

Women gathered at All Saint’s Park on the MMU campus before the march to stand in solidarity with one another, appreciating how far women have come whilst acknowledging there is still a long way to go.

Dr Kate Cook, head of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre who attended the rally said: “I think it’s great. It really gets across the activist history.

“The only other statue of a woman in Manchester is Queen Victoria, so I think it’s great to portray a woman as stood on a chair, speaking to crowds of women.” 

The statue of Queen Victoria was erected in Piccadilly Gardens in 1901.

Young girls on the march into the centre of Manchester chanted “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” as they waved banners emblazoning powerful and uplifting messages for women.

209 women are currently members of parliament, and this is due to the acts of women like the suffragettes.

Women at the unveiling were reminded just how important it is for them to vote to ensure representation and power for future generations, rather than shunning polling booths. 

Lord Mayor, Councillor June Hitchen said: “We are honouring the legacy of Emmeline. The Suffragettes did so much for us and we should never forget.”

The crowd cheered as the statue of Emmiline was uncovered from its suffragette coloured covering. 

The statue represents Emmeline stood on a chair, rousing the attention of passers-by to stop, listen and most importantly pay attention to what she has to say. 

It is symbolically orientated towards the former Free Trade Hall, where the first disruptive meetings of the Suffragettes took place.  

Hazel Reeves, who created the statue, dedicated ‘Our Emmeline’ to the women of the future.