Burgess Hill Girls pupils don suffragist sashes for Parliament Week

November 28, 2018

To mark Parliament Week [12-18 November], Burgess Hill Girls pupils have been spreadingthe word about the importance of political engagement in winning women’s suffrage.

Sporting a suffragist’s sash, Head Girl Cara Eckstein and Deputy Head Girls Sophie Rowson and Bridget Calthrop walked the school corridors to encourage the girls to consider the importance of the 1918 Act which first gave women the right to vote, and the 1928 Act that eventually equalised that right with the voting rights of men.

UK Parliament Week is an annual festival that engages people from across the UK with Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.

Cara said: ‘It is important for any young women to fully appreciate the sacrifices made for us by those who campaigned for women’s suffrage. When we appreciate the immense challenges women have had to overcome, we may be all the keener to exercise our rights and engage with the world around us.’

Head of Sixth Form at Burgess Hill Girls, Bill O’Brien-Blake, said: ‘A thorough understanding of how the right to vote was fought for and won can ensure that people ensure they use it when possible and to its fullest effect.

‘Our students will face challenges in their lives where they will need to engage with the political process to promote change and champion their perspectives – they owe it to their forebears for their right to do so, and it is fitting that we honour them this week.’

The commemoration comes in the wake of the renaming of the school’s houses (which used to bear men’s names) to commemorate four outstanding women – Emily Pankhurst, Jane Austen, Emma Watson and Serena Williams. The names were chosen after a ballot of pupils.

The school is also commemorating the role of women in the First World War through the acquisition from the Royal British Legion of two life-sized suffragette silhouettes. One will be sited In front of the Rose Garden which is central passing point in the Senior School while the other will go at the entrance to the Junior School.

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