Honouring those who fought for equality

THE suffragette colours of purple, white and green will be worn at a ceremony to mark International Women s Day. Stevenage MP Barbara Follett will host the event on Saturday, March 7 at Knebworth Park. Guests wearing ribbons in the three colours will star

THE suffragette colours of purple, white and green will be worn at a ceremony to mark International Women's Day.

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett will host the event on Saturday, March 7 at Knebworth Park.

Guests wearing ribbons in the three colours will start the day with a bouquet-laying ceremony in front of the tomb of suffragette Constance Lytton.

She was the daughter of Robert, the first Earl of Lytton whose ancestral home was Knebworth House.


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Constance joined the Women's Social and Political Union in 1909, becoming an influential member who toured the country giving speeches and writing articles.

She was one of many suffragettes imprisoned during the campaign for women to be given the vote.

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Unlike many, she was released early from her first sentence - imposed following a demonstration outside the House of Commons - after the authorities found out about her family connection.

Constance was angered by this special treatment and when arrested during another demonstration she gave a false name and address.

She was sentenced to 14 days in jail and when she refused to eat she was force fed eight times. But she was immediately released when the authorities discovered her true identity.

Following her death in 1923, Constance was buried at Knebworth with the purple, white and green suffragette colours laid on her coffin.

The event next week is one of hundreds being hosted around Britain, and thousands across the world.

International Women's Day itself is March 8 and since the early 1900s it has celebrated the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Ms Follett said: "It is not such a long time ago that women were not even entitled to vote.

"We won that battle in 1918 and International Women's Day is a time to remember just how far we have come since then and the challenges that remain for the future."

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