Today marks 100 years since women won the vote. Women’s suffrage is a movement which, like many of the brilliant social, industrial and political movements of time immemorial, began in Manchester.
Crowned the Best City in the UK for the past three years on The Global Liveability Survey, (even better than London, unsurprisingly, because you don’t have to re-mortgage your house to purchase a pint), Manchester has proved time and time again that continuous social reform which puts the needs of the people before the needs of The Man is conductive; not only to industrial and cultural innovation, but to happiness and well-being alike.
From suffrage and beyond, Manchester has kept the issue of social, political and economic progress at its forefront; from opening the UK’s first public library and providing access to education for Mancunians universally, to the birth of the Industrial Revolution, which saw Manchester rise to commercial proficiency.
The concept of ‘Deeds, not words’ is epitomised by Manchester’s tendency to instigate large scale social movements such as socialism, vegetarianism and rock and roll. Musicians like Joy Division, New Order, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Elbow and Oasis (and Take That, though we’d rather not talk about that), most of whom had humble beginnings and a mutual adoration for The Northern Powerhouse, have paid lyrical homage to the city and the aura which it encapsulates.
Anthony Burgess taught the world about free will, Ernest Rutherford did the impossible and split the atom, and the first programmable computer was designed at The University of Manchester, proof that it’s true, ‘We do things differently here’.
Each of these instigative moments of history were birthed in a contemplative moment wherein a bright mind saw that they could offer more to society, and set about doing so – whatever the cost.
Thankfully, in 2018 Britain, women have a right to education, to equal pay (…almost), to be employed, and to expect financial and legal independence. However, it is important to remember that whilst so much progress has been made socially, politically and economically, history has proved that it is possible and essential that we exceed limitations.