Suffrage: marching

Mass marches are one of the enduring symbols of the suffrage movement, though local societies also staged thousands of smaller marches as well. Women had been involved in political marches throughout the nineteenth century, but the involvement of thousands of often middle-class and respectable women in this kind of public protest was unprecedented and often unwelcome. Over the course of the campaign the national marches, which took place in London and in which regional societies participated, became larger and more spectacular as organizations developed new strategies to attract attention and support. Societies often marched in local delegations or as part of occupational groups, usually carrying their own banners. Very large marches sometimes coincided with important national events such as the 1911 coronation, and usually culminated with a rally at which speakers addressed crowds from multiple platforms. The point was to present a unified, powerful and insistent demand for women’s enfranchisement.