New College tutor remembers her suffragette grandmother on International Women’s Day

As part of International Women’s Day, staff and students at New College Pontefract are wearing the colour purple in recognition of the suffragette movement, as well as running a whole host of activities and fundraising.

It’s a special day for one Progress Tutor. Joyce Earnshaw, whose great grandmother, Florence Stevenson was a suffragette.

Joyce said: “I didn’t know her as she died unexpectedly at the age of 39 following childbirth. However, I feel immensely proud that she was a suffragette belonging to the Bradford Branch.”

Florence was an exceptional journalist and for a time worked on the movement’s own newspaper published by headquarters.

Speaking of Florence’s relationship with the leader of the British Suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst, Joyce added; “My Grandmother said that Mrs Pankhurst could hold an audience spellbound, she was a natural speaker who knew her subject and mission in life.”

Joyce still holds dear a very treasured rusty pin badge ‘vote for women’. A scarf of Florence’s was donated to a London Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the bill establishing the right of women to vote in Parliamentary elections, which became law in 1918.

Staff and students will be tweeting about their own inspirational women throughout the day.

There will be activities and stalls in the college and people will be able to purchase flowers to give to the inspirational woman in their life.

All proceeds from the day will go to the Ovarian Cancer Action as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

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