Women's Suffrage at 100: Emmeline Pankhurt's great-granddaughter tells Trump, 'The world has changed'

When asked by Piers Morgan if he was a feminist, the US President said: 'That would be going too far'

Hannah Stephenson
Tuesday 06 February 2018 09:30 GMT
Dr Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, strikes a commemorative 50p coin to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act
Dr Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, strikes a commemorative 50p coin to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act

Donald Trump should "look forwards not backwards", the great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst said following the US president's admission that he is not a feminist.

Leading women's rights campaigner Helen Pankhurst spoke about the damaging effect Mr Trump could have on men's perception of women, after his recent interview with Piers Morgan.

When asked by Morgan if he was a feminist, Mr Trump said: "That would be going too far," but he added: "I'm for women, I'm for men, I'm for everyone," and said he had "tremendous respect" for women.

Publicising her book Deeds Not Words, out on the 100th anniversary of women being given the vote, Ms Pankhurst said her message to the president would be: "The world has changed - look forwards not backwards."

She said: "I think it's really sad that in 2018 we have as the president of apparently the most powerful place in the world someone who has done the things that he has done and speaks the way that he does.

"There is a positive angle to that, in that complacency has woken people up. The feminist movement just has to keep on the ball."

The author believes the president's comments could influence the way men perceive women, citing the case of Playboy magazine, which is still sold in the UK.

In her book she writes: "It had pledged to stop showing nude female images but reversed the decision in February 2017, emboldened perhaps by the low tide of Donald Trump's election."

Interviewed ahead of the book's launch she said: "There is an inevitability that he has created space for a return to certain values but then, how many voices, including men's voices, are saying 'That's not me, I don't want to be associated with that'?"

The apparent sentiment of his State of the Union address was incompatible with his frequently controversial remarks online, she said.

"In the State of the Union Address, he talked about conciliation and the importance of working together across the Democrats and Republicans. On the other hand, his tweets speak in a different way," she said.

"Does change happen because of an individual person saying certain things or because of the hundreds of thousands of people in the grey area - the people who sit on the fence, who don't have a strong view? It's those people's views that need to change.

"People in that middle ground need to say 'I don't want to be defined by Trump, I want to be defined by some of the incredible feminists that we have around the table'."

Ms Pankhurst's book details that globally, millions of people are thought to have marched on January 21 2017, the day after Mr Trump was inaugurated as president.

An estimated 100,000 were said to have joined London's Women's March.

She said banners and placards including "Trump is what happens when people would rather believe the worst rumours about a woman than the worst facts about a man" encapsulated the argument.


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