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Women Shall be Free

1918: Representation of the People Act

Author: Helen Crawfurd (1877-1954)

This poem appears in our anthology

Featured individuals:
Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

A full copy of this poem is available.

Recording:

More information about this recording

Archive/Library: Manchester Central Library

This song is written by Helen Crawfurd, a Glaswegian suffragette who would become a prominent member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and a town councillor for Dunoon.  The song appears in a suffragette convention programme and it serves as a rallying cry for suffragettes.  The poem's refrain stresses that the call for 'votes for women' is a 'just demand' and that the suffragettes will not back down until 'women shall be free'.  The poem also explains the logic behind the suffragettes' position: women are portrayed as hard workers who are also capable of holding high office - Queen Victoria is held up as a woman who has 'graced our country's throne / For half-a-hundred years'.  The concluding stanza instructs suffragettes to put pressure on those who have made 'pledges' to the suffragettes.