Have you ever taken a moment to look closely at Lottie Doll packaging? If you have, you may have noticed something very special indeed! Each and every Lottie Doll box displays a very important badge proudly proclaiming that the doll inside is ‘Inspired by Real Kids’, and the Lottie adage that all children should ‘Be Bold, be brave, BE YOU!’. But what about the ribbon attached to the badge? The colours of green, white and purple are not accidental but are in fact the colours of the Women’s Social and Political Union, a faction of a larger organisation known as the Suffragette movement.
Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, editor of Votes for Women, a weekly newspaper chose the colours in 1908 and explained “purple, as everyone knows is the royal colour, it stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity… white stands for purity in private and public life… green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.”
So, what exactly was a suffragette? The term ‘suffrage’ refers to the right to vote, a right which most women were denied in many civilised societies of the nineteenth century. As the 1800s drew to a close, some women felt it was time for a change. In 1897, Millicent Fawcett founded the National Union of Women’s Suffrage and a revolution began!
Over the next two decades, the suffragette movement sought to achieve their goal – the addition of women to the register of voters. Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davidson became two of the most famous suffragettes, Davidson having made herself the first martyr to the cause following her highly publicised death at the Epsom Derby.
Emmeline Pankhurst Emily Wilding Davidson
In 1918, as a weary Britain emerged from the war, no one could deny the vital role women had played in its overall success and politicians realised they could no longer deny the same rights to women that had long since been available to men. On February 6th, 1918, the Representation of People Act was passed, and some women were finally awarded the right to vote. In 1919, Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons having arrived in London and being pinned with those same colours which adorn the Lottie packaging one hundred years later.
And what a difference a century makes! Women in 2018 can do a lot more than vote! They can fly planes and go to space, lead companies and countries, they can build skyscrapers, climb mountains and make amazing scientific discoveries - and it all started with three colours. As women worldwide celebrate a hundred years of progress, they realise that there’s still a long way to go. Lottie will continue to proudly display colours of the suffragette movement with the hope that it will empower girls everywhere to realise their own amazing potential!
How do you feel about women's rights? Join in the discussion on Twitter using #Vote100