Born into a liberal family, she married Richard Pankhurst, a radical.
After his death, she was incensed that the Independent Labour Party branch, which was to use the hall built in his memory, refused admission to women.
In reaction she founded the all-female WSPU. Both Emmeline and her daughter Christabel were imprisoned many times for their political stance and militancy, with which they fought for the female vote.
Her battle cry "remove the political disability of sex" is as relevant now as it was explosive then.