Fiona Ledgard, Personal Trainer (https://fionaledgardfitness.com/blog/) reflects on Sylvia Pankhurst’s legacy and inspires the future generation in her women only fitness sessions, supported by The Sylvia.
“Feeling so proud! Tonight my work has combined my love of fitness, feminism, history and music. Tonight’s FIT Classes were part of the @mmu_sylvia programme of events, celebrating Sylvia Pankhurst‘s contribution to the Suffragette movement, universal suffrage and socialism.
At the start of the session I spoke about her work, her sense of conviction and how she was the most rebellious of the Pankhursts. DID YOU KNOW that she was imprisoned more than any other Suffragette, along with the hunger strikes and sleep strikes? She designed the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) artwork and regularly painted portraits of working class women in their working environments. She refused to get married to her partner and take his name. She campaigned against the First World War and helped hide conscientious objectors from the police. She campaigned for poorer women to have access to food and jobs (she opened up a toy factory in London to create work, when women had no income during war time). She campaigned for wives with soldiers at war to have decent allowances, saving many women from living in poverty. She lectured in The United States, Scandinavia and Central Europe. She moved to Ethiopia and continued to write, open educational establishments and campaign for peace. And she was from Manchester! I said that it is because of the bravery of women like Sylvia that women in this country now have the freedom to enjoy so many things, such as exercise and getting fit!
We acknowledged that we still have a long way to go, and we dedicated our workouts to Sylvia and linked our exercises to the 100 years since *some* British women first got the right to vote (it was not until 1928 that all women had the right to vote in this country). Over the course of both sessions, along with other training, everyone did 100 squats, 100 lunges, 100 push ups and held plank for 100 seconds! And it was an incredible feeling!”