Suffragette remembered 100 years after she threw herself under horse

June 5, 2013 at 2:44 AM
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LONDON, June 5 (UPI) -- A member of the U.K. Parliament wants a statue to honor Emily Davison, a suffragette who died after throwing herself in front of one of the king's racehorses.

Emily Thornberry, a Labor MP who represents a London district, told The Guardian there should be more statues of women at the Houses of Parliament. She said there are only six, including two each of Margaret Thatcher, the only female prime minister so far, and Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.

Thornberry introduced a resolution Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Davison's action at the Epsom Racecourse. Davison died four days after she was struck by a horse owned by King George V that was running the Derby.

"It is so preposterous that there are so few women," Thornberry said. "It really is time that Emily Davison was recognized at Westminster. If John Major can have two, I'm sure there is space for one for Emily."

Davison was not universally praised on the centenary. Veteran feminist writer Germaine Greer, writing in The Daily Telegraph, asked if Davison was really a martyr to the suffragette cause.

"Davison's apparent self-sacrifice did not bring the extending of the franchise to women one step nearer," Greer said.

Greer also suggested Davison may not have had the sense to realize that stepping into the middle of the Derby was likely to be fatal. Davison bought a round-trip ticket to Epsom and had a ticket to a suffragette dance that night.

"A woman's urge to self-sacrifice should not be celebrated but resisted as destructive and irrational," Greer concluded.

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