Women Shall be Free

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This song was written by Helen Crawfurd, a suffragette from the Gorbals who was imprisoned in Holloway Prison in 1912 for smashing windows in Central London. It appeared as part of a programme for a Suffragette Convention meeting in Manchester.

Performer: Adam McNaughtan.

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A good heart and a steady mind,
Our purpose clear in view,
The whole wide world shall understand
What women mean to do.
And have they fixed the when and where,
And what is women’s place?
Just what we can and will, no less,
To benefit our race.
And shall they scorn our just demand,
And shall we voteless be?
To spread our cause we shall not pause
Till women shall be free.

What do they fear, who hold them back,
Who number half the race?
That we the needful courage lack
To fill a worthy place.
The sex that toils in home and mill,
That shares their smiles and tears,
The sex that graced our country’s throne
For half-a-hundred years.
And shall they scorn our just demand,
And shall we voteless be?
To spread our cause, we shall not pause,
Till women shall be free.

What now of pledges freely made
For service freely given?
Now they who prospered by our aid
To action must be driven.
Then join, the women of our land
All eager for the fray –
With one and all and hand in hand,
And who shall bid us nay?
And shall they scorn our just demand,
And shall we voteless be?
To spread our cause, we shall not pause,
Till women shall be free.