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Top 12 warrior moms throughout history

By: Livescience.com Inc. on May 10, 2011, 8:55 a.m.
Emmeline Pankhurst

Photo: Library of Congress

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7. Emmeline Pankhurst, militant suffragette

In the late 1800s, Emmeline Pankhurst grew up in an activist home in Britain with parents who supported women's right to vote but believed their own daughter couldn't compete with the boys. A budding suffragette at age 20, she met and married a like-minded man. They had five children together, and Pankhurst continued her political work for women's rights. Many of her children would follow in her activist footsteps.

By 1903, Pankhurst had became disillusioned with the lack of progress on women's suffrage. She founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). WSPU took agitating for the right to vote to new levels: First peaceful protests, then window smashing, and finally arson. Pankhurst went to jail multiple times, where she and other suffragettes launched hunger strikes to protest the conditions. Prison guards would often force-feed the women through tubes inserted into their noses and mouths. It's said that Pankhurst threatened guards with a clay jug to avoid the treatment.

Pankhurst would live to see women achieve equal voting rights with men in 1928.