Further information – #Emilymatters


W H Y   # E M I L Y M A T T E R S 



#Emilymatters European & Local Elections pilot project, 2014.
Tweets & photos came in from across the UK expressing how important it is to vote.

#Emilymatters European & Local Elections, 2014 Storify


Building on the success of the #Emilymatters social media Votes campaign and House of Commons event earlier this year, has been very much on my mind of late.

Suffragette Emily Davison’s legacy is an important one. She was a leading figure in the campaign for women to get the vote but she also fought for social justice and gender equality.

I created #Emilymatters as part of the social media campaign to promote the Emily Davison statue in Parliament campaign event in the House of Commons.


To Freedom’s Cause’ – House of Commons performance – Micro Trailer

‘To Freedom’s Cause’ by Kate Willoughby – historic performance in the House of Commons.
Cast: Eleanor Dennison, Fiona Geddes, Darren Godbold, Kyra Willaims & Kate Willoughby.
Director: Brian Astbury | Musical Director: Rhona Finch.



The evening was a great success and as a result of the fantastic response online to Emily Davison’s story, #Emilymatters continues to promote issues that mattered to her. Photos, tweets and posts have been sent in from across the globe in support of gender equality and using the right to vote.

With the next UK general elections taking place in May 2015, there are some exciting developments in the pipeline for #Emilymatters. Please do get in touch to find out more and add your support. Why people choose to vote/not vote is something I’m very interested to explore in order to encourage greater participation at elections.

Like ‘To Freedom’s Cause’, #Emilymatters draws on the past, but is very much about the present and the future. Gender equality is a right for all women and girls across the globe.


TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE should be seen by every woman and teenage girl.
And by anyone who couldn’t be bothered to vote. Moving, stirring & passionate.
–  Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour presenter


Emily Davison’s story is not the only one to highlight what a precious thing the right to vote is and why #Emilymatters.


Votes For Women_RADA_Photo_VBurgess_2011

Votes for Women: Sabina Arthur & Katie Russell, To Freedom’s Cause cast members, RADA
Photo: Val Burgess, 2011


This year’s photos of Afghan women risking their lives to use their right to vote were a reminder of what we owe the women’s suffrage movement and how precious our democratic rights are.

Only last month Libya lost Salwa Bughaighis, one of the country’s bravest advocates for human rights and gender equality. I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of her before reports of her assassination appeared on my Twitter timeline.


She was the first woman to call for a democratic Libya … She was calling for equal citizenship in Libya and inclusive democracy … She said ‘We have to struggle inside Libya to the last moment. They will not threaten us and shut us all up.’ And she was calling everybody to the last moment ‘Please participate and protect the ballot’.
Zahra’ Langhi  – Libyan Human Rights activist & friend of Salwa Bughaighis


Reading about her refusal to give in to extremist threats and then hearing Zahra’ Langhi moving tribute to her friend on the BBC’s World Service reiterated the extraordinary bravery of women campaigners across the Middle East today. I believe that their work is very much a part of Emily Davison’s legacy.

As Zahra’ Langhi spoke of returning to Libya to finish what her friend Salwa Bughaighis statrted, her comments echoed Mary Leigh’s tributes to her sister suffragette, Emily Davison.


‘She was an inspiring, loving, positive, hopeful woman. She was an icon for all Libyan women.
A beautiful and at the same time, powerful women. The icon of the revolution.
– Zahra’ Langhi, Libyan Human Rights activist & friend of Salwa Bughaighis


I was very fortunate to meet Hillary Rodham Clinton, on her recent book tour to the UK. She could well become the USA’s first woman President. I’ve heard her speak about empowering women and girls around the world and was heartened by her interest in what the 2015 #Emilymatters Votes project aims to do with, with regards to encouraging young women, in particular, to vote.

Although a prolific writer herself, Emily Davison was fed up of politicians’ warm words and no action. She championed the Deeds Not Words approach, so it is great to see the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project is working hard to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls around the world.




Sadly, in the UK voter turnout has continued to decline. In 2010 only 39% of young women aged 18 to 24 chose to vote. #Emilymatters aims to challenge that head on and is looking to work with partners to make a positive difference. Things have to change if real progress towards gender equality and better representation is to be realised.


“We haven’t got power anyway, so voting won’t make much difference …
I kind of see the political thing as a game. I don’t take it seriously.”
– Nadi, final year student & potential first time voter at the 2015 UK general elections


Nadi is not alone in his views on voting. Turnout in the 2010 general elections was just 65.1% (Statistics: IPSOS-MORI quoted in the Electoral Reform Society report ‘The UK General Election 2010 In-depth’).


EWD infographic 1 mk3


If you believe in gender equality and using the right to vote, help us ensure that Nadi and other potential first time voters get involved and use their democratic right that Emily Davison and Salwa Bughaighis were willing to risk their lives for.


HoC photostream_debate_General_ML_EWD_Feb2014_J

#Emilymatters event included a performance included a performance of ‘To Freedom’s Cause’ & a debate chaired by
Jane Garvey with Chi Onwurah MP, Dr Helen Pankhurst, Yas Necati & Emma Barnett.


The 2015 #Emilymatters project will have  To Freedom’s Cause’ at its heart and it would be great to get your support.


Be a part of a Emily Davison’s living legacy





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You can get a weekly summary of worldwide gender equality issues with the To Freedom’s Cause & Other #Emilymatters paper.li newsletter as well as updates on the play and future Kate Willoughby Productions & #Emilymatters projects.

Let’s do Emily Davison and her sister suffragettes proud!


Kate Willoughby
Actor & Writer of To Freedom’s Cause




Emily Davison’s legacy is for life, not just for 2013.