because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Evelyn Sharp

Evelyn Sharp was born into a respected English family in 1869. Despite receiving little formal education, she passed exams that demonstrated her intelligence and eventually was not only a popular children's book writer, but a successful journalist, as well. By the time she reached her mid-thirties, however, she was giving the lion's share of her attention to the struggle of women to gain the right to vote.

Initially, while actively writing, organizing and speaking as a suffragette, Sharp honored her mother's request that she not risk going to prison. But five years into her commitment, her mother wrote her a letter releasing her from her promise and within a matter of days, she had been arrested for breaking out the windows in a government building (see photo above).

Unlike some women fighting for the vote, Sharp was militantly against the First World War, as well, and refused to pay taxes, which resulted in all her property being confiscated. A subsequent action in support of political prisoners got her arrested and imprisoned yet again. But as Sharp once wrote: "Reforms can always wait a little longer, but freedom, directly you discover you haven't got it, will not wait another minute."

At sixty-three, she married her lover of more than three decades (during which time he was married to someone else and had multiple other lovers, as well) and published her autobiography entitled Unfinished Adventure. Women of today are often given to understand that women of yesterday were good little girls. Some were. And some weren't.

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