AS WE celebrate International Women’s Day today there is no better time to remember a forgotten daughter of Fermanagh who 100 years ago was among the fearless pioneers who helped secure the vote for women.
Katherine Gillett-Gatty was a fully-fledged Suffragette, smashing windows, chaining herself to the gates of Hyde Park, forsaking her freedom several times, and even going on hunger strike while in prison, all in the fight for women’s rights.
Katherine was born in Bengal in 1870 to Captain Edward Gatty and Emma Rebecca Collum from Bellevue, Enniskillen.
A close friend of Emily Wilding Davison, who famously gave her life for the cause when she ran out in front of the king’s horse in 1911, Katherine was described by the Suffragette publication “Votes For Women” as a journalist and lecturer. Her efforts in helping secure that vote were nothing short of militant.
In November 1911 she spent two weeks at Holloway prison after taking part in a window smashing campaign.
In January 1912 she was again arrested, this time for causing a disturbance after the exculsion of women during the trial of Emily Wilding Davidson, but was discharged on this occasion.
Katherine took part in anther window-smashing campaign in March 1912, and this time was sentenced to six months imprisonment for smashing glass worth £42. In June that year she took part in a hunger strike.
In 1947 she emigrated to Australia, where she died in 1952. Katherine is included on the Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners 1905-1914.
The Herald would like to thank Pat McGuigan from the Federation for Ulster Local Studies for his help researching Katherine, who until now has been relatively unknown here in her family’s home county.
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