She is daughter of Stafford, born in 1863
To a very proud couple, Ellen and Henry.
One of ten born to this working class family –
The warrior woman; Alice Hawkins nee Riley.
She left school at thirteen and moved to Leicester City.
The family pursued work there, in the boot and shoe industry.
In 1884, Alice met Alfred; they were soon to marry
And they went on to have their own large family.
Alice joined the trade union with support from ‘Equity’
For better factory workers’ conditions – she fought actively.
She wanted women to be given the same opportunity
And in 1894, she joined the Labour Party.
Alice was reported by journalists, locally
For wearing bloomers and ‘outraging public decency’!
She wanted to have an equal say in democracy
And joined the suffragette movement at the turn of the century.
The day after the Kings Speech, 13th February
Alongside Emmeline, at a suffragette rally
Alice was charged down by mounted police at Westminster Abbey
And she was jailed for 14 days for being disorderly.
Rise up, women! for the fight is hard and long;
Rise in thousands, singing loud a battle song.
Rise is might and in its strength we shall be strong
And the cause goes marching on.
At Leicester 1909, Winston Churchill spoke publicly
Alfred cried, ‘Why don’t they secure the vote of the women of the country?’
Alice tried to enter the meeting, forcibly
And was, one again, imprisoned fighting for democracy.
It continued up to 1914, the suffragette activity
Alice was detained 5 times at the pleasure of His Majesty
She stood up for the rights of women of society
But was not one to talk of her achievements publicly
In 1918 World War I ended suddenly.
This year, it was granted, due to the suffragettes, partly,
That women could vote, if they were over thirty
(So that men did not become the voting minority).
Alice lived until the great age of eighty-three
She fought for the rights of women and is part of our social history.
A statue has been erected in Leicester, this 100 year anniversary
To help us not to forget her; one in a million Alice Hawkins nee Riley
(c) 19.02.2018 written by Morgan, Mandy
A bit about Alice, in my own words.
Whilst writing about Alice Hawkins, as requested by a friend who is fighting for a Museum for Women’s History in Stafford, I feel as though I have got to know her. She was a remarkable and determined lady who became heavily involved in the fight for equality quite early on in her life. My friend and I both live in Stafford which is of an added interest to us as Alice lived in Red Lion Street, Stafford.
Her family moved to Leicester (when Alice was about 19) to pursue work in the shoe and boot trade and Alice soon started to act upon the inequalities in the workplace. She did have support from Equity shoe factory and was allowed time off to participate in political organisations. Alice became disillusioned with the trade unions as they predominantly supported men. Men were seen as the ‘breadwinners’ of the family. This has quite enlightened me as, in my experience, this is still how some industries and people think. Recent media coverage proves that pay inequality is still rife in many professions including film and politics; many women are paid substantially less than men.
One example, according to Sky News is as follows:
‘Mark Wahlberg will donate the $1.5m (£1m) he made for reshoots of Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World to the anti-sexual harassment campaign Time’s Up.
The actor decided to donate his pay after reports emerged that co-star Michelle Williams had been paid less than $1,000 (£728) for the same reshoots…’
A big shout out to Mark Wahlberg!
Alice attended her first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union in February 1907 followed by a march to the House of Commons to actively demand the vote for women. When suffragettes are talked of, the Pankhursts may first spring to mind. Alice became involved with the Pankhursts and Sylvia even sketched a portrait of Alice.
At this meeting, as my poem shows, Alice was charged down by mounted police and arrested and jailed for the first time. Over the following seven years, she served five sentences at Leicester and Holloway.
Alice had the support of her husband Alfred who aided her at meetings and rallies.
I hope that you enjoy my homage to Alice and I hope that by reading this, it has helped to keep her memory alive.
Love Mandy x
And with thanks to Ali x
SKY NEWS, Wahlberg donates $1.5m reshoots pay to Time’s Up, (online), @2018SkyUK viewed on 19th February 2018.