Deeds Not Words
The Story of Women's Rights - Then and Now
By Helen Pankhurst
On the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, Helen Pankhurst - great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and a leading women's rights campaigner - charts how women's lives have changed over the last century, and offers a powerful and positive argument for the way forward.
'An incredible book . . . Informative, enlightening, and with the potential to change women's lives.' Sandi Toksvig
'A valuable guide and reference to anyone who wants to understand the Women's Movement in more depth. I am deeply grateful to Helen for writing it!' Annie Lennox OBE
Why is it taking so long?
Despite huge progress since the suffragette campaigns and wave after wave of feminism, women are still fighting for equality. Why, at the present rate will we have to wait in Britain until 2069 for the gender pay gap to disappear? Why, in 2015, did 11% of women lose their jobs due to pregnancy discrimination? Why, globally, has 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence?
In 2018, on the centenary of one of the greatest steps forward for women - the Fourth Reform Act, which saw propertied women over 30 gain the vote for the first time - suffragette descendant and campaigner Helen Pankhurst charts how the lives of women in the UK have changed over the last 100 years. She celebrates landmark successes, little-known victories, where progress has stalled or reversed, looking at politics, money, identity, violence, culture and social norms. The voices of both pioneers and ordinary women - in all their diversity - are woven into the analysis which ends with suggestions about how to better understand and strengthen feminist campaigning and with aims for the future.
Combining historical insight with inspiring argument, Deeds not Words reveals how far women have come since the suffragettes, how far we still have to go, and how we might get there. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to explore one of the most central and pressing conversations of our time.
Dr Helen Pankhurst is a women's rights activist and senior advisor to CARE International, working in the UK and in Ethiopia. She is a trustee of ActionAid, a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE and Visiting Professor at MMU. Helen is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement. She has extensive media experience including national and international radio and print interviews and was involved in the 2015 film Suffragette. The Sunday before International Women's Day each year, Helen leads an annual march in London, joined by the Olympic Suffragettes #March4Women.
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- Publication date:
06 Feb 2018
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An incredible book - an engaging social history but also with an activist's lens looking forward. Informative, enlightening, and with the potential to change women's lives. Read Deeds not Words - now! — Sandi Toksvig
In order to go forwards, we sometimes need to look back, to truly appreciate where we've come from and where we need to go. This is why Deeds not Words is so timely at this juncture. It will serve as a valuable guide and reference to anyone who wants to understand the Women's Movement in more depth. I am deeply grateful to Helen for writing it — Annie Lennox OBE
An engaging book and call to action, full of insightful quotes and staggering statistics, vividly reflecting the diversity of British women's lives and their journeys as agents of change. — Faeeza Vaid, Executive Director of Muslim Women's Network UK
Amusing, inspiring and disturbing . . . The conversational tone of her book is welcome in the midst of a reactive 24/7 news cycle. Instead of hectoring, Pankhurst reflects. She moves from legislation to culture and social media to examine how women's experiences are shaped by external forces. There is even a Mean Girls reference thrown in for good measure. — inews
Helen Pankhurst lives up to the hopes and expectations of her family name. The various, and often different, ideas of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters are fully represented and through that readers are invited to consider the many issues and campaigns that feminism has fought and continues to fight. An exciting and engaging account of an essential part of British history. — Mary Evans, Emeritus Leverhulme Professor, LSE
Conversational, analytical, big-picture sweep of history, directional and - most importantly - wholly accessible. Literally words that make me want to get up and go do deeds, thinking all along the way! — Rachel Holmes
Deeds not Words is for anyone who wants to know how far women have come in the long cold march to equality - by the great grand-daughter of one of our finest leaders. But its more important job is to shine a light on how far we have yet to go. Helen Pankhurst leaves very few stones unturned in this forensic look at the last 100 years of women's history. — Emma Barnett