Suffragettes 100: Schoolgirls in Whitechapel say ‘we’re not there yet’

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Feminism and the fight of the Suffragettes leading to votes for women 100 years ago are still relevant in society, according to today’s teenage girls in London’s East End who are about to go out into the world.

The East London Advertiser asked five sixthform girl students at Whitechapel’s Swanlea Secondary School where they thought ‘feminism’ had a role to play and how much they owed to the suffragettes.

We found them clued up on the issues of today, on the gender pay gap and where their role is as young women, but still felt their was a way to go before full equality of the sexes:

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Michelle Mendieta: “Feminism is still relevant because we still haven’t reached gender equality, especially in developing countries, even here with all our legislation it’s still something we have to work on.

“Suffragettes were a catalyst for feminism, first having equal votes for men and women. That was something that led to more things and more changes in legislation.”

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke


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Naajiyah Saarrah: “Feminism is significant and has made a difference to our lives as women which has given us confidence to try to be equal and to show men that we are what we say we are. I’m only 17, but I have high hopes for women that we can show society that we are strong.

“The suffragettes helped us by fighting for women—they gave us a voice today.”

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

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Shama Mahmud: “Feminism shows us that men and women should have equal rights, that women are just as capable of achieving as men. We are both equal.

“Suffragettes played a role in what women have achieved today, although we haven’t fully achieved equality—there are still pay differences which is shown with the BBC. But they gave us a voice.”

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Yasmine Boujdi: “Women’s role is getting better with time. It began with suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, then in time feminism got going which has boosted women’s role in the workplace and at home. But I don’t think it will ever be equal, no matter how much we want it to be.

“The suffragettes role was extremely important because they took on activities that others weren’t willing to do and yet help them, not just themselves.”

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke

Swanlea Secondary in Brady Street, Whitechapel. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Tarin Pasha: “Feminism is just as important today with all the campaigns like ‘Me Too’ and the gender pay gap.

“The Suffragettes created a big mile stone in starting the first wave of feminism and showed that women are equal and they helped to pave the way for a lot of what we can do today.”

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