Suffrage 100: Fellows Celebrate Inspirational Women in Public Life

14 December 2018

2018 marks 100 years since some women, and all men, in Britain were given the vote in parliamentary elections and 90 years since women got to vote on equal terms to men.

14th December marks the centenary of the first General Election in which some women were able to vote. This milestone was celebrated at Kellogg by raising the Suffrage flag on site during an event hosted by our Senior Tutor, Dr Elizabeth Gemmill.

Some of our female Fellows, current students and alumni, have also taken part in a project celebrating female suffrage, the democratic right to vote and inspirational Women in Public Life. The project consists of a series of films and podcasts discussing women who have played a pivotal role in public life and, in some cases, focusing on specific individuals who have influenced both UK and international decision making, throughout history and who have also had a lasting effect on their own life.

Women in Public Life: Watch the films

Why 100 years of women’s suffrage is worth celebrating: A physicist’s point of view

Dr Judith Hillier, Associate Professor in Science Education (Physics) and Vice-President and Fellow of Kellogg College

Dr Hillier discusses why the democratic right to vote matters; why it took so long for women to be acknowledged as worthy to vote; and the ramifications that decision had on other areas of society, including education.

How influential were medieval women?

Dr Elizabeth Gemmill, Associate Professor in History, Senior Tutor and Fellow of Kellogg College

It is assumed that medieval women played no part in political and social decision making but is this really the case? Dr Gemmill explains that, despite the barriers placed in front of them, medieval women were a lot more influential than you would think.

Design not words: Five Suffragette Objects

Dr Claire O’Mahony, Associate Professor and Course Director for the MSt in the History of Design and Fellow of Kellogg College; Dee Danchev, MSt History of Design (2017-19); Vega Bantock, MSt History of Design (2013-15); Katie Tregidden, MSt History of Design (2017-19); and Susan Petty, MSt History of Design (2011-13)

Dr O’Mahony and four of her students, past and present, discuss the use of design and symbolism by the WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) and their fellow suffragettes, during their campaign for women’s suffrage.

Annie Besant: British women’s rights activist and supporter of Indian and Irish home rule

Dr Yasmin Khan, University Lecturer in History and Fellow of Kellogg College

Dr Khan introduces us to one of the 19th and 20th centuries’ forgotten influential women; Annie Besant was a leading light in the campaign to promote sex education, better working conditions and, following emigrating to India, the struggle for India’s independence.

Maud Gonne MacBride: feminist, agitator, muse

Dr Tara Stubbs, University Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing and Fellow of Kellogg College

More than just an actress and reluctant muse to W B Yeats, Maud Gonne MacBride was, in fact, a staunch supporter of Irish independence and feminist. In this podcast, Dr Stubbs discusses Maud’s varied and eventful life.








Jane Jacobs: journalist, author and activist

Dr Idalina Baptista, University Lecturer in Urban Anthropology and Fellow of Kellogg College; Dr Jennie Middleton, Kellogg Senior Research Fellow in the School of Geography and the Environment; Dr Nihan Akyelken, Associate Professor in Sustainable Urban Development and Fellow of Kellogg College

Jane Jacobs was born in Scranton, USA and was a prominent voice in the area of urban studies. Doctors Baptista, Middleton and Akyelken discuss the struggles Jacobs faced, and overcame, in this male dominated field and how she influenced urban planning across the world.

Dame Joan Evans: historian, biographer, generous benefactor and first female President of the Society of Antiquaries

Dr Cathy Oakes, University Lecturer in History of Art and Fellow of Kellogg College

Daughter of business man and antiquarian John Evans and sister to famed archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, Joan Evans was brought up in an environment of high academic expectations.  Dr Oakes reveals a woman who was born into privilege but who dedicated her life to her academic pursuits; she was a natural inter-disciplinarian and rose, against the odds, to become the first female President of the Society of Antiquaries.

To read more about the women’s suffrage movement in Oxford, visit the Women in the Humanities web page.