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Descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst announced as university's first chancellor

PUBLISHED: 20:38 04 October 2018

Dr Helen Pankhurst is set to become the Universty of Suffolk's first chancellor Picture: VIRGINIE NAUDILLON

Dr Helen Pankhurst is set to become the Universty of Suffolk's first chancellor Picture: VIRGINIE NAUDILLON

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The University of Suffolk have made the great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst its first chancellor.

A sketch of Emmeline Pankhurst Picture: INTERNET ARCHIVE BOOK IMAGESA sketch of Emmeline Pankhurst Picture: INTERNET ARCHIVE BOOK IMAGES

Dr Helen Pankhurst is a writer, academic, women’s right activist and senior adviser to CARE International, a humanitarian agency working in the UK and Ethiopia.

She will become the first Chancellor since the university gained independence in 2016.

Dr Helen Pankhurst said: “I am delighted to accept this position at the university.

“At its core the university is about encouraging positive change, this is something I am passionate about.

The University of Suffolk will now have three women leading the institution and student's union Picture: VIRGINIE NAUDILLONThe University of Suffolk will now have three women leading the institution and student's union Picture: VIRGINIE NAUDILLON

“As an advocate of inclusivity and equality, I share the university’s mission of encouraging access to higher education, which can provide greater opportunities to thrive.

“Everyone should have ambitions - individuals can change the world. Out of small steps, whole institutions and communities can be transformed.”

Whilst her own work as a women’s rights activist has been prolific, Dr Pankhurst is slightly overshadowed by her great-grandmother Emmeline and her grandmother Sylvia.

Both women were highly influential figures and leaders in the struggle for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century.

Dr Pankhurst is the descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, a key figure in the Votes for Women campaign Picture:  KATIE LUCASDr Pankhurst is the descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, a key figure in the Votes for Women campaign Picture: KATIE LUCAS

Fittingly, Dr Pankhurst’s appointment comes in the centenary year when some women gained the right to vote.

Professor Helen Langton, Vice Chancellor of the University, was keen to highlight this fact as she spoke about Dr Pankhurst’s appointment.

Dr Langton said: “We are really excited that Dr Helen Pankhurst is to become our Chancellor.

“Her academic profile alongside her passion for empowerment and change resonates so well with our values at the University of Suffolk.

Slyvia Pankhurst, Emmeline's duaghter and Dr Helen's grandmother, was also a central figure in the suffrage movement Picture: INTERNET ARCHIVE BOOK IMAGESSlyvia Pankhurst, Emmeline's duaghter and Dr Helen's grandmother, was also a central figure in the suffrage movement Picture: INTERNET ARCHIVE BOOK IMAGES

“In this historic year, in which we are marking 100 years when most women gained the right to vote, it is fitting that the University of Suffolk now has three women leading the institution and the Students’ Union.”

Dr Pankhurst is also due to release a book titled: Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now on the history of the suffrage movement.

It will be released this year to coincide with the centenary of the campaign.As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations the Women’s Rights, Women’s Votes event taking place in the university campus on Saturday 6 October.

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