Poems from the collection by Michaela Morgan and Liz Brownlee.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of SOME women getting the right to vote in the UK. Although things are much improved, amazingly, the struggle for equality (notably, and recently in the press, wage equality) is still going on.
Written to mark the suffragette anniversaries in the past year and this, Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls has proved extremely popular, particularly with teachers, in fact it recently won the N. Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards for poetry.
It celebrates the lives of women through history who have made a difference to humanity in a myriad of ways – not just those women we have all heard of (From Boudica, through Anne Bonny the pirate, to Frida Khalo, Marie Curie, and Helen Keller to Malala Yousafzai and Hilary Clinton) but those that are much less known, or overlooked, or written out of history, or who will never be known… such as the ‘Unknown Worriers’, who kept the home fires burning. It also includes poems about feminism, and some modern young women who have made a difference in their communities.
Of course, there are a poems about the suffragettes – but, perhaps not surprisingly, many of women in the book (whilst they weren’t and were fighting the system to become doctors, scientists, fashion-reformers) also supported women’s suffrage.
Each poem is proceeded by a short biography of the person in the poem.
It seems the right day for sharing part of Jan Dean’s poem, Suffragette.
Part of ‘Suffragette’
I want to make my own choice.
I need to use my own voice
I won’t be silent, won’t ignore important things –
the world has queens as well as kings.
And so I march, protest and claim my right
to take part in my country’s life.
I want what’s fair – to have my say
on who makes laws and who holds sway.
© Jan Dean