Feminist activism in Greater Manchester: past, present and future

Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE in discussion with Joanna Williams

walk for women manchester
This is a past event
Date and time
10 May 2023
£10.00 (non-members)


How has the Mancunian feminist movement evolved since its inception? Greater Manchester boasts a rich history of engagement in the battle for Women’s rights. What does its future look like?

Professor Helen Pankhurst and Joanna Williams will trace the history of this movement from the 1860’s to today.

Early campaigners achieved much: girls’ and women’s education, the property rights of married women, opportunities for work and voting rights. But there is still a lot to be done to realise true equality for women. Many of the issues addressed in the early years by Lydia Becker in her speeches and writings persist to this day.

Helen and Joanna will consider the legacy and impact of the movement in the domains of the personal and the political. They will highlight the organisations and individuals that advance the work of the early suffragettes in the present day. How is the GM4Women2028, convened by Helen Pankhurst – for example – using data, dialogue and activism to carry the torch for feminism?

Join us as we explore and celebrate the strong lineage of Manchester’s brave women. Those whose tenacity and perseverance paved the way for an increasingly equal society.

professor helen pankhurst

Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE

Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE is a development and international women’s rights activist working as an advisor to CARE International – primarily in Ethiopia and in the UK. She is a Professor at MMU and the First Chancellor of the University of Suffolk. Helen holds an honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University and from the University of Manchester.

The granddaughter of Sylvia, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Helen carries on the legacy. Her publications include Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now (2018).

joanna williams

Joanna Williams

Local historian and author Joanna Williams studied History at the University of Manchester at undergraduate and postgraduate level. After lecturing for the Department of Extra-Mural Studies, she taught History at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls. Her fascination with the nineteenth century was inspired by the enthusiasm of her A level students.

She published a life of Abel Heywood, Manchester’s Radical Mayor, in 2017 and followed that up with The Great Miss Lydia Becker (2022). She is currently researching the life of Richard Pankhurst – a former member of the Manchester Lit & Phil – for a further, long-overdue, biography.

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