Dora Thewlis, a mill worker from Yorkshire, took part in a mission to break into the Houses of Parliament in March 1907. She was only 16 at the time. Newspapers became fascinated by Dora's story and her arrest. She appeared on the front page of the Daily Mirror and her story was followed, from day to day, by many other newspapers and magazines. Some days after her arrest, it was reported by the girl's parents that she had been brought up in an atmosphere of socialism and that they supported her actions, demanding that she received the same punishment as other suffragettes - imprisonment - despite her young age.
The actions of northern factory girls in the campaign to acquire the vote should not be overlooked. As well as taking part in direct militant action, girls such as Thewlis visited isolated villages and industrial towns, recruiting other working class girls to the cause.
- Why do you think Dora got involved in the campaign despite the fact she was too young to vote?
- Was Dora discriminated against by the court because of her age? Is there such as thing as positive discrimination?
- Dora was 16 years old when she got involved in the campaign and had been working in a factory for a few years. Do you think she had more or less influence on the movement than young people would have today?