Helen Pankhurst

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Helen Pankhurst
Helen Pankhurst at BBC Broadcasting House for the BBC 100 Women Wikipedia editathon.png
Dr. Helen Pankhurst at Broadcasting House, London during BBC 100 Women 2016
Born Helen Pankhurst
1964 (age 53–54)
Alma mater
  • Activist
  • Writer
  • International Development Expert
Children 2

Helen Pankhurst (born 1964)[citation needed] is an international development and women's rights activist and writer. Pankhurst is currently CARE International's senior advisor working in the UK and Ethiopia.[1][2] Pankhurst is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who were both leaders in the British suffragette movement.

Early life and education[edit]

Brought up in Ethiopia until the age of 12, Pankhurst initially had a French education studying at the Lycée Guebre-Mariam and having moved to the UK,[3] continuing her schooling at the Lycée Charles de Gaulle before going on to the Atlantic College in Wales. She then studied at Sussex University and Vassar College, New York before gaining a social science PhD from Edinburgh University.[4] Her thesis was published by Zed Press as Gender Development and Identity: An Ethiopian Study 1992.

Work and Activism[edit]

Helen Pankhurst has worked for a range of international development organisations including ACORD, Womankind Worldwide and CARE International, primarily in Ethiopia. Her focus has been on programme and policy in urban and rural development, water hygiene and sanitation and women's rights.

Pankhurst has been a trustee of Water Aid, Farm Africa and Action Aid[5] and has been a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE and a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has an honorary PhD from Edge Hill University.

Pankhurst is passionate about continuing the legacy started by her grandmother and great-grandmother.[6] At the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, Pankhurst appeared alongside her daughter, Laura. The pair have since formed a group called Olympic Suffragettes, which campaigns on a number of women's rights issues. She also leads and speaks at the annual London international women's day march.[7]

Her book, Deeds not Words: The Story Of Women's Rights Then And Now was published in February 2018.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Pankhurst is the great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, campaigner for the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom. She is the daughter of historian Richard Keir Pethick Pankhurst and librarian Rita Pankhurst, her brother is Alula Pankhurst. Suffragette leaders Christabel and Adela were her great-aunts.[9] She has two adult children.

Pankhurst advised on and had a cameo role in the film Suffragette alongside her daughter.[9] She promoted the film around the world, visiting Australia, Japan, USA and throughout the U.K.


  1. ^ "Helen Pankhurst". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Inspirational Woman: Dr Helen Pankhurst | An International Womens Day Special - WeAreTheCity | Information, Networking, jobs & events for women". WeAreTheCity.com. 2014-02-15. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  3. ^ "My Long Friendship With Richard and Rita Pankhurst". Ethiopia Observer. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  4. ^ Pankhurst, Helen (1990). "Women, the peasantry and the state in Ethiopia". Edinburgh Research Archive. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "Dr. Helen Pankhurst". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Barns, Sarah (9 October 2015). "A Nazi sympathiser, two sickly sons and a daughter disowned for having a baby out of wedlock: Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst's VERY secret legacy revealed". Mail Online. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Topping, Alexandra (19 August 2012). "Olympic suffragettes regroup for women's rights march on parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Helen Pankhurst (6 February 2018). Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women's Rights - Then and Now. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-4736-4686-5. 
  9. ^ a b Pankhurst, Helen (2016-03-03). "My great-grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst, would still be fighting for equality today". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-12-08.