Time to spill the beans on how a beautiful British suffragette finally figured out how to win votes for women.

In 1912 Christabel Pankhurst shook her head in disgust and dismay as she realized that nothing that she and her mother and sister suffragettes were doing, nothing that was being done to them, not even the arrests and long prison sentences and beatings and force-feedings that hunger striking suffragettes were bravely enduring would ever win enough votes from men to win votes for women.

Emmeline Pankhurst, British suffragette arrested in front of Parliament, 1912

How do you win votes for women when every vote has to come from a man? Christabel, brilliant, gorgeous, a third-generation suffragette and a celebrated civil rights attorney was angry that thousands of suffragettes were working relentlessly to get men elected. Men who claimed to support their cause, but again and again, forgot all about them once they were safely in office.

Christabel Pankhurst, (Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter) British suffragette,1912

“You’re doing it wrong,” was the answer given to her by a gruff labor leader when she asked him to support yet another candidate who claimed he would get their votes-for-women bill passed. Politicians don’t respect anyone’s support, he told her, they always take support for granted, so don’t waste your time.

Politicians only respect opposition. Organized opposition. Organized opposition can take down not only an individual candidate, and when it is directed at an entire party, it can take down enough candidates to cause a party to lose its majority — and all the power and glory that goes with it.

That day, Christabel and her band of suffragettes finally saw the light and stopped playing nice and started playing hardball. It made all the difference. After more than 60 years of supporting candidates who gave women nothing but lip service, just six years after she relaunched the suffragettes as a fierce, implacable and extremely organized opposition group, women were voting in England.

America women were not far behind, thanks to Alice Paul, an equally determined Pankhurst protege who brought the British philosophy home with her when she returned to America in 1912. She waged a bitter war against President Woodrow Wilson and defied the entire Democratic majority party to force the president and the party to put every ounce of their political muscle behind making votes for the women of America the law of the land.

And it worked!

Alice Paul, American suffragette, 1912
Alice Paul’s suffragettes protest the re-election of President Woodrow Wilson,1916

“The Privilege of Voting” tells the story of how England and America’s militant suffragettes used the power of opposition to win votes for women in 52 thrilling episodes. Short quick-read episodes intertwine their struggle with behind-the-scenes views into the real lives of celebrities including author Edith Wharton, dancer Isadora Duncan, and Washington power-broker Alice Roosevelt and the shocking public shaming of not one, but two presidential mistresses, revealing the high price they paid for their political passion and the roles they played in winning votes for women.

To honor the historic candidacy of Secretary Hillary Clinton, CoffeebreakReaders will publish this sexy, serialized soap opera that has been called ‘the Desperate Housewives of 1912’ in its entirety on Medium.

Prepare to be shocked at the brutal omnipresent oppression of women that drove suffragettes to view their battle for the ballot as nothing less than a fight for women’s lives. Rest assured that you will be absolutely astonished and incredibly inspired by their cunning, courage and extraordinary tenacity.

Your heart will break as tragedy strikes their ranks again and again as they fight tooth and nail to get what they believed women cannot live without. They never gave up, they would not give in. Because they finally figured out how to fight and Christabel and Alice were some bad-ass bitches who knew they were going to win.

Think of them and thank them when you exercise your privilege of voting.

American suffragette Alice Paul ecstatically announces that a surprising ‘YES’ vote in Tennessee (which was expected to vote NO) has finalized the ratification the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Campaign workers cheer as she unfurls her Votes-for-Women Victory Flag from the balcony of the National Women’s Party headquarters in Washington, DC. Paul stitched a star onto the flag to honor each of the 36 states that voted ‘YES’ to make votes for women the new law of the land in time for the presidential election of 1920
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