When I watched the film “Suffragette” in the cinema, I took note of the lingering shot of a book called “Dreams”. I think the title page had been signed by many Suffragettes. (As I don’t have a photographic memory, I might have dreamed it.) And I imagine them passing it round the group to read, each pressing it into the next woman’s hands while saying: “You must read this. It will encourage you greatly.”
I had to do a bit of digging to find that the book was written by Olive Schreiner in 1890. (This book came up at the same time.) In another of her books, “The Story of an African Farm”, Schreiner wrote:
“So age succeeds age, and dream succeeds dream, and of the joy of the dreamer no man knoweth but he who dreameth. Our fathers had their dreams; we have ours; the generation that follows will have its own. Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist.”
Pardon the exclusive language!
The Suffragettes and Suffragists had their dream of gaining the vote, which became reality for most women over the age of 30 in 1918, and for all women over 21 on the same terms as men in 1928.
Now in the UK, the dream of suffrage has been succeeded by the dream of full equality for women: equal opportunities, equal pay, equal visibility, equal voice, equal respect, equal safety and security.
To that we must add the dream of full equality and justice for all, irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexuality, and all other labels and categorisations.