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Suffragette is a term originally coined by the Daily Mail newspaper as a derogatory label for members of the late-19th and early-20th century movement for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, in particular members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). However, after former and then active members of the movement began to reclaim the word, the term became a label without negative connotations. It derives from the word "suffrage", meaning the right to vote.

Suffragist is a more general term for members of suffrage movements, whether radical or conservative, male or female. American campaigners preferred this more inclusive title, while those Americans hostile to women's suffrage used "suffragette" as a pejorative, emphasizing its feminine "-ette" ending.[citation needed] In Britain, "suffragist" is generally used solely to identify members of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).




Early 20th Century

Suffragettes carried out direct action such as chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents, smashing windows and on occasions setting off bombs. One suffragette, Emily Davison, died after she stepped out in front of the King's horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby of 1913. Many of her fellow suffragettes were imprisoned and went on hunger strikes, during which they were restrained and forcibly fed.

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