A new graphic anthology titled We Shall Fight Until We Win celebrates a century of pioneering political women.
The collection is made up of a selection of creatives and illustrators that tell stories of women including suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, Grunwick striker and trade unionist Jayaben Desai, nurse and suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh, politician Diane Abbott and asylum seeker rights activists Glasgow Girls.
The collection looks at a centenary of resistance in illustration and comic strip form using a host of contributors across different disciplines. These include graphic novelist Hannah Berry, writer Wei Ming Lam, artist Maria Stoian and artist Shazleen Khan.
We Shall Fight Until We Win includes the acclaimed comic The 60% written by Sabeena Akhtar and illustrated by Erin Aniker which focuses on communities and marginalised women who didn’t receive the vote. The 1918 Representation of the People Act allowed women over the age of 30 to vote provided they were university graduates, had certain property rights, or were married to men who had certain property rights. This often meant that women of colour were unable to vote and the Act was updated a decade later.
Speaking about the process Aniker tells us, “We spoke and decided we didn’t want to focus on the suffragettes but on the 60% of women that didn’t get the vote instead as a way of shifting the narrative around the suffrage movement. Our comic is in the middle of the anthology and has a different tone as well as style from the rest of the comics and artists. I drew inspiration mostly from Persopolis and illustrator’s whose work I admire such as Manjit Thapp, Catherine M.A. and Laura Breiling for their illustrations and explorations of womanhood and sisterhood and Gizem Vural for her use of colour and pattern."
Writer Sabeena Akhtar tells It’s Nice That, “As a woman myself who often feels the need to break stereotypes in order to be heard, I felt it incumbent on me to write about the women, mothers, grans, who aren’t publicly acknowledged, but still inform a massive part of our lives. Whilst many women from immigrant communities have been at the fore of change and innovation in this country, there are others who privately dealt with and resisted personal and structural injustices. My hope was to create a personal connection with the reader and encourage them to not only remember the great historical and public figures, but to appreciate the women in their own lives and all the women who have, and still continue to struggle for equality.”
We Shall Fight Until We Win is out on 3 July.
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