The project encourages readers to nominate inspirational, yet ordinary women, who are often-unsung heroes, to be recognised on an interactive map that will launch on International Women’s day on March 8.
The map is a symbol of the suffragettes’ legacy – proudly displaying how far we have come over the past century, but also highlighting how much life-changing work is still being carried out today in every corner of the country.
She said: “Last year was a bad year to be brave.
“At Amnesty we know of 281 people around the world who were killed for standing up for what they believed in, but this figure is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
“From Heather Heyer who died while protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese anti-corruption journalist who was killed in a car bomb in October – the world felt like it was an increasingly treacherous place to live in if you are a campaigner.
“But the dangers faced by human rights defenders are nothing new. “Since the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders 20 years ago, we know of at least 3,500 activists who have been killed – an average of 180 deaths a year – and the annual death toll shows no sign of diminishing.
“But next to these depressing statistics I have recently witnessed a chink of light that has filled me with hope: and it’s in the form of the Suffragette Spirit campaign.
“Since Amnesty called on Britain to nominate the women continuing to campaign for change 100 years after winning the vote, I have been bowled over by the incredible cases put forward – all of whom are working to make very real, positive changes in their communities.
“From Glasgow to Portsmouth, Ipswich to Swansea, women embodying that fighting spirit a century on are using their powerful voices to help the vulnerable, stand up to bullies, fight racism, tackle abuse and save their local environment.
“In fact, judging by the number of nominations we have been deluged with, there are literally hundreds of women human rights defenders up and down the country working to make their local area – and even the wider world – a better place.
“One example is Anna Kennedy, a campaigner from Middlesbrough who has worked tirelessly to help people with autism. In her wide portfolio of work she has set up a two specialist schools, a residential home and campaigned for better diagnosis of the condition as well and helped tackle autism-related bullying in schools.
“Another nomination is Mridul Wadhwa, who lives in Glasgow and has campaigned since 2005 for trans rights as well as helped to protect migrant women experiencing violence. For 12 years she has worked with some of society’s most vulnerable to ensure they have a voice and to help change attitudes towards them – and all because of her passionate belief that all human beings are equal and that no one should be silenced.
They might have stood up to bullies, helped the homeless, aided refugees, campaigned for better access to healthcare. They could have challenged bad business practices, worked to protect the environment, prevented forced evictions, and much more.
Every time these women have spoken up, set up a petition, sent a letter to their MP, or proudly displayed their placard on the picket line, they’ve taken steps towards making life better for others – to ensure that you and I, as well future generations, enjoy a fairer, more equal world.
The amazing achievements of these often-unsung heroes deserve to be celebrated, and Amnesty wants to feature them on its Suffragette Spirit Map of Britain.
So, over to you: Which 21st century suffragette deserves to be put firmly on the map?
To nominate an amazing woman your local area, visit www.amnesty.org.uk/suffragettespirit.