Women didn’t win the vote by holding up signs and waiting for men to give them permission. They took the fight to the streets – and, though history usually brushes over the dirty details, it was sometimes violent. Some of the more militant suffragettes smashed windows, set buildings on fire, and once even tried to assassinate Britain’s Prime Minister.
These women largely came from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), one of the leading organizations advocating for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom in the early 1900s.
For decades beforehand, women had tried to win their rights peacefully, but in 1903, that changed. That year, Emmeline Pankhurst formed the WSPU under the motto “deeds, not words.”