Source 9 - Poster for a Public Meeting

Key members of the WSPU objected to the way in which the organisation was run and attempted to establish a democratic organisation. Their proposal was blocked by Emmeline Pankhurst who insisted that the movement required military discipline rather than democratic thinking. Teresa Billington Grieg, Charlotte Despard and Edith How-Martyn responded by forming the Women's Freedom League (WFL) in November 1907. Many WSPU members also left to join the WFL.

Many policies similar to those of the WSPU were retained - members of the WFL were willing to break the law to raise the profile of the cause. Some of its members refused to pay their taxes, for example. Unlike both the NUWSS and the WSPU, the WFL did not cease campaigning during WWI as many of its members, including Charlotte Despard, were pacifists.

Maud Arncliffe Sennett was an executive committee member of the WFL and often spoke at public meetings and rallies.

This source is a poster advertising a forthcoming Public Meeting of the West Sussex Branch of the Women's Freedom League, held on September 30th 1908.

  • How difficult do you think it would be to organise a campaign on a large scale? What different roles do you think people might have played?

Author / Creator: Women's Freedom League
Publisher: Women's Freedom League
Date: 1908
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: c.121.g.1, Vol 5