Giving Compass' Take:

• Isobel Hamilton explains how 100 years ago the Actresses' Franchise League began the work that is continuing in the #MeToo movement.  

• How can funding help to support actresses and others fighting for gender equality? 

• Learn about funding for the #MeToo movement

The Actresses' Franchise League (AFL) is a little-known piece of suffrage history. It was founded in 1908 by a group of theatre professionals — a mixture of actresses, playwrights, dancers and composers — to work through their profession for the Suffrage cause.

By 1913 the AFL had 900 women members and an affiliated men's organization.

At their genesis, the AFL wrote and produced plays which researcher Naomi Paxton terms "unapologetic propaganda pieces, written with passion and inspired by frustration."

So the AFL circumvented the state censorship by producing plays that were "much more subtle in their references."

Contrary to the old sexist stereotype of the humorless feminist, these were women who used comedy as a tool to advance their cause, undermining their political opposition.

"We suffragettes were up against materialism and silly unimportant things," Lena née Selina Manson told the Evening Standard in 1963. "I've seen women thrown to the ground by several burly men. I could have been back in the arena in Rome. And where are women today?"

A further 55 years down the line and women in Lena's industry still feel similar frustrations.

Now voices similar to those of Lena and her comrades are being raised again. The domino effect of the Harvey Weinstein scandal has been wide-reaching, and the equality manifestos of organizations like Time's Up and 50/50by2020 are a sadly familiar tune.

Read the full article on the Actresses' Franchise League by Isobel Hamilton at Mashable.