Bessie Watson, 1910, Women’s March in London. The Women’s Library LSE Flickr (7JCC/O/02/022)

Girls throughout the world have unique talents, talents that they work tirelessly to perfect. Many girls have used their talents to help move forward causes that they feel passionate about. Nine-year-old Bessie Watson combined her two greatest loves: bagpiping and woman’s suffrage. While walking with her mother through the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, Bessie stopped to look at the window of the Women’s Social and Political Union office. Bessie became excited about the idea of women receiving the right to vote, even though she wouldn’t be able to vote for many years. 

Bessie had been a skilled bagpiper since she was a small child and she realized that her talents could help promote votes for women. She would run from school each day to play her bagpipes outside of the jail in Edinburgh for fellow suffragettes in prison. At the first suffrage pageant she performed at, she wore a sash with the words “Votes for Women” as she performed with her bagpipes. As just a ten year-old she traveled to London to play her bagpipes in a women’s march. Bessie was not only one of the youngest bagpipers in the world but also one of the youngest suffragettes. Bessie didn’t let her age prevent her from making her mark on the world, in fact, she embraced the fact that she was so young.

During WWI, Bessie was just a teenager and used her talents to make a difference in other ways. She began helping the Scots Guard to recruit army volunteers by playing her bagpipes. Bessie continued playing her bagpipes and supporting women’s rights for the rest of her life. She looked back at her girlhood as the most exciting time of her life as she used her talents to push causes she was passionate about forward.

-McKenzi Christensen
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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