Suffragette Postcards



The Rising Generation

The speech which features in this postcard has been attributed with minor variation to a range of speakers, from the postcard attribution (below) to Lady Morris speaking at Berkeley Hall, London on November 4th 1908 to Margot Asquith, Countess of Oxford (and wife of the British Prime Minister—from 1908-16— HH Asquith) addressing the Women’s Club of Southwick and the Women’s Political Partisan League of London (right):

About the card



THE SPEAKER: We demand the right to act, vote and hold positions as Men do (cheers)


THE AUDIENCE: Down with the trousers and up with the petticoats!

                                                                                                                                  (great cheering.)

Address of Lady Asquith to the Women's Club of Southwick, and the Women's Political Partisan League of London. Special to the London Times.

We must have what the men have. It may not be much but we mean to have it, no matter how large of how small it may be. If we cannot have it without friction, then we shall have it with friction. (Applause) If we cannot have it through our organizations we shall have it through our combinations, or without them if necessary. (Cheers) But we absolutely refuse to be poked on the floor of the house. (Prolonged applause.)

We are willing to look up to the men above, but we do not want to be forced or held down without being able to make a few motions of our own. We women want to hold up our end and show the men our possibilities whenever anything arises that will fill our expectations. We women are deeply interested in good movements, and we will always accept any load that is given to us. (Cheers) Nothing that comes up will be too hard for us. (Wild cheers.)

We are willing to work under the men above us, now as in the past, and to the point of exhaustion if need be. (Applause) But we are becoming disgusted with their failures and shortcomings! (Hissing and boos.) Never when anything arose and required our attention have we failed to come, and we shall come again and again if the occasion presents itself. But too often has our enthusiasm been aroused with false promises, and too often have our hopes and strivings been met with feeble performances that have left us disappointed and dissatisfied. (Cries of "Hear, hear!") That drunken loafer says "Down with the Petticoats!" How often have our efforts to push forward our ends met in the house with the cry of "Down with the Petticoats!" Now I say "Up with the Petticoats!" and Down with the Trousers!" Then and only then will matters be seen in their true light. (Wild applause.)

As long as we women are split up as we are, the men will always be on top.

From: Legman, G. (1976) Bawdy monologues and rhymed recitation. Southern Folklore Quarterly, 40, pages 59-122.