Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 isn’t given as much attention in off years. The 90th anniversary of women winning the vote was in 2010. And now, Western states such as California in 2011 and Oregon in 2012 will be pouring energy into their woman’s suffrage centennials.
Just as Women’s History Month every March is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to plan special receptions and anniversary events, Women’s Equality Day is increasingly moving forward in terms of recognition. It’s an opportunity both for education and appreciation.
When it comes to scheduling programs, new material is welcome. And “Everything is Possible,” a film from the U.K. released in January of 2011, features Sylvia Pankhurst, a member of the famous Pankhurst family whose members played a significant role in England’s suffrage movement.
The film isn’t directly related to Women’s Equality Day observed every year on Aug. 26 in the United States. However, close ties between American and English activists shed important light on the character and direction of each movement. The Pankhursts also toured the United States, where they gave speeches and raised money. Most American suffragists had an opinion, one way or the other, about Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, her three daughters and their radical campaign methods.
American suffrage organizers Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Elizabeth Freeman and others saw first hand the uphill Votes for Women campaign on the other side of the ocean because they participated personally in the English suffrage movement. When studying in England, Alice Paul joined the Pankhurst volunteers and even landed in prison herself. When she returned to the U.S., people were anxious to hear about her experiences abroad. Alice Paul and her National Woman’s Party went on to adopt some of the nonviolent tactics the Pankhursts used. However, Paul’s study at Woodbrooke, a Quaker study center in England, reinforced her Quaker roots that were steeped in a spiritual underpinning of nonviolence.
One aspect of the film “Everything is Possible” is the fact that it was produced with the participation of 100 volunteers who took part in the extensive research and interviewing. “Everything is Possible” is available for sale online.
“Everything is Possible” is an excellent candidate as a program for a special event, either on Women’s Equality Day or during Women’s History Month, because of the heightened interest in suffrage history in the United States.