DEEDS NOT WORDS
We celebrated 100 years of some women getting the vote by inviting eight fearless female leaders to smash our windows
In an act that echoes the suffragettes smashing eight of Harvey Nichols’ windows in 1912 during their campaign to win the vote, Dr Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of the movement’s leader Emmeline Pankhurst, took a crowbar to the windows of our Knightsbridge flagship store.
Part of the Mayor of London’s year-long #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, the demonstration celebrated the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK, while also highlighting that we’re still a long way from where we want to be in terms of gender equality.
“A century later, we asked a new generation of women to break our windows again. Why? To remind the world that there is still work to be done,” said Group Director of Marketing and Creative Deb Bee.
Bringing to mind the Day-Glo placards emblazoned with the words ‘smash the patriarchy’ that filled the streets of this year’s Women’s March, Harvey Nichols’ windows once again felt the weight of female fight.
Joined by journalist and broadcaster Anita Rani and an army of trailblazing women, Pankhurst sent splinters of glass shattering up the Knightsbridge windows. “It’s great to actually physically break something instead of having to deal with it on a day to day basis,” proclaimed Kesang Ball, a tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Trippin’, a platform which aims to empower and open the minds of users through travel.
While the original protest was met with brute force, today’s onlookers cheered as the crowbar was passed along from Anna Jones, founder of women’s networking club AllBright to racing driver Jamie Chadwick – a metaphorical passing of the torch from one generation of activists to another.
Award-winning blogger and author of What A Time To Be Alone, Chidera Eggerue bludgeoned the glass wearing a pair of oversized Linda Farrow glasses as protective goggles, naturally. Eggerue, who is perhaps best known by her alter-ego The Slumflower, has recently launched her own campaign, #WhySaggyBoobsMatter and has spoken on issues such as race, gentrification and the male gaze. Grasping a pickaxe, Eggerue remarked that she was “pumped” by the act and was hoping to “direct that energy into taking on much larger systems like patriarchy which imprison women daily.”