In the late 1800's women started seeing that the cards were stacked against them. Women were working to support their families. However, they weren't fairly represented, their wages were poor and they were taken advantage of in the workplace and at home. Women started fighting back by demanding the right to vote. They lobbied members of Congress, they staged rallies and parades, wrote articles in newspapers and they protested in great numbers. All of this was disruptive to "civilized" male society, and men fought back, and they fought dirty. They assaulted women protesters in an attempt to humiliate them. They even jailed them in an attempt to quiet them. Remember, during that time, women had no rights. They worked longer hours than men and made 1/3 of the wages of men. We've come a long way baby, but not far enough!
For the last couple of months I have been creating a series of Women's Suffrage jewelry to honor those women that fought so hard for our right to vote and for fair and humanitarian treatment. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, enameled copper with sepia tone photographic images. Some are hand painted in the colors of the woman's suffrage movement - purple and green for England and yellow and green for the US. Each piece is a reminder of where we've been and where we could return if we continue to take our rights for granted.
I have been researching these women, their lives and their legacy. I am grateful for all they have done to bring awareness to the inequities in society between men and women. I fear we are heading back to that time with all of the new policy changes in our current administration. It's important to me that women's equality become a reality, not just a dream. This project is my way of raising awareness for the cause.
Another crusader hoping to bring awareness to the 80 plus year battle for women's rights is Alinah Azadeh. She is an artist who created an amazing piece that speaks to their cause, using the typewriter as a powerful symbol - the main means of communication women used to write to their legislators, newspapers and each other. Follow the link here to read more about her project.
If you are interested in learning more about these women and all they did to fight for you and me, please check out each of their listings on my website. If you are interested in a particular suffragette with whom I have not created a piece, please feel free to email me for a personal commission - firstname.lastname@example.org.