100 years ago this June suffragette Emily Wilding Davison gave her life for the cause by throwing herself in front of the King’s horse during a race at the Epsom Derby. While her action may have been ( and still is) contraversial it was, in its own way, successful in terms of gaining publicity for the campaign for the enfranchisement of women in Britain. While few go as far as Wilding Davison, there are plenty of examples of courageous women acting on their convictions at great risk to themselves today across the globe, for instance the members of the Iranian One Million Signature campaign for equal rights who have been attacked and arrested since 2007, the high profile case of the Russian group Pussy Riot or the less well known but no less significant protest of Lubna Hussein in Sudan.
Set up by rising young performance practitioners Jennifer Gaskell and Sarah Evans to commemorate Wilding Davidson’s death, the 100 Deeds project takes its title from a slogan of the Women’s Political Union ‘deeds not words’ and asks ‘what would you do for gender equality today?’. The result will be 100 posts on the project website documenting 100 deeds by members of the public and will also feature in an exhibition at the people’s History Museum Manchester from 4-14th June as part of the ‘Wonder Women: Radical Manchester’ event.
So far deeds include: writing a letter to the chair of the Football Association asking for Sian Massey, a female linesperson(?) to be promoted to referee and for other women to be encouraged and supported to participate in this sport; the making of hand crafted T shirts with the slogan ‘Honk if you are a feminist’ on the front: several theatre and performance projects and a day spent collecting money for an LGBT youth organisation.
I could I suppose claim this post as my ‘deed’ but while I’m not planning on throwing myself under any horses, I’d like to find something a bit more active… although the clock is ticking so I ( and any body else who’d like to participate) need to think fast.100 Deeds website