Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Mrs. Fawcett was a leader in advancing the causes of women’s suffrage, education, and social reform. She also worked to end the double standard in the grounds for divorce, to improve women’s rights of guardianship over their children, and to open the legal profession to women. From 1897 to 1919, she was president of the nonviolent National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.
Millicent Garrett Fawcett was the fifth daughter of ten children of Newson Garrett, a self-made wealthy corn and coal merchant and shipowner, and Louisa Dunnell. Millicent’s mother was deeply religious and had less influence on her than her father. Millicent attended a school run by the aunt of the poet Robert Browning at Blackheath until she was fifteen. An apocryphal story recounted by Ray Strachey in her history of women’s suffrage, The Cause (1928), tells how one night, after Millicent, her sister Elizabeth, and their friend Emily Davis had discussed what each might accomplish, Emily responded as follows: “I must devote myself to securing higher education, while you open the medical profession to women. After these things are done, we must see about getting the vote. . . . You are younger than we are Milli, so you must attend to that.” They all succeeded.
In 1864, Elizabeth met Henry Fawcett, a blind professor of political economy at Cambridge. He proposed to her but was spurned....
(The entire section is 2700 words.)
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