The Feminists of 1909
Remembering some of the women behind that 100 year old march
Now probably best known for the Edinburgh maternity hospital that bore her name until its 1988 closure, Dr Inglis was one of the first graduates of the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women, and one of the original founder members of the Scottish Women’s Suffrage Federation. She campaigned actively all over Scotland in the early part of the 20th century. During the First World War, despite Home Office condemnation, Dr Inglis established the Scottish Women’s Hospital Committee, sending 14 all-female medical units out to support soldiers in Serbia, Russia and France. She was taken ill while working in Russia and died in 1917.
One of the most prominent suffrage campaigners in Scotland, Macmillan worked tirelessly to set up branches all over the country, including Orkney and Shetland, touring the country by caravan and often resorting to guerrilla tactics to arrange meetings in the face of male resistance and violence. One of the first female students to matriculate at Edinburgh University when it opened its doors to women in 1892, in 1906, along with Elsie Inglis, she led a campaign using a university loophole to get female graduates the vote, taking the floor at the House of Lords for three days solidly. Eventually became a barrister and a Liberal parliamentary candidate.
The chief organiser of the 1909 march, Drummond was an outspoken militant suffragette who had already been imprisoned several times alongside the Pankhursts. Because of her imperious personality, excellent oratory skills and fondness for military fashion, she was known as ‘The General’. The day after the march, the press made much of her decision to lead the procession, on horseback, with her legs astride the horse rather than the more ‘ladylike’ side saddle.