BARONESS BETTY BOOTHROYD, OM
In addition to being a militant agitator for women's suffrage, Sylvia Pankhurst was also a gifted artist. For the last 30 years I have worn a brooch I had made similar to that designed by Sylvia and presented to suffragette prisoners in 1909. Its main theme is the portcullis encased in chains. To me it is a reminder of the gates of a prison where Sylvia was taken thirteen times for her suffrage militancy. It also reminds me of the symbol of the Houses of Parliament where I am privileged to sit as a Member as a result of her foresight, her sacrifices and her legacy.
If democracy were a traded commodity on the stock exchange, it would be showing losses right now and shareholders would be wondering whether to bail out. Sylvia Pankhurst never bailed out when the going got tough. She regarded democracy as women's heritage and right. Our forebears fought for it and we, as women, are still relatively new beneficiaries of it. That's why we are here, in Parliament and many other walks of life – still fighting, still overcoming obstacles to our rightful place in the world.
Well done Sylvia Pankhurst!
She continues to inspire us.
Baroness Betty Boothroyd O.M.