However the key part of the campaign was not voting in and of itself, but rather the focus it forced politicians to put on issues that affected women. It didn’t give the vote to all women, but it represented the culmination of the movement to finally allow working men the vote – and should be remembered for this, too. This initial step towards full voting rights for women, entitled women over 30 who owned property (or who were married to a man that did), the right to vote.
Editor’s note: Catherine Mayer is the co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party in the UK.
One of the most interesting items is the Sidmouth and District Women’s Suffrage Society banner which has been restored through funding from the National Lottery and South West Museum.
“Women’s’ contribution has always been written out of the conversation and when it comes to LGBT women, even more so”. However, the suffrage movement IS something that most school-children are taught in the classroom.
Earlier in the day, the original Representation of the People Act was wheeled out in Parliament for the first time. The women demanded to be given the status of political prisoners, and when the government refused, they went on hunger strike.
File photo dated 04/06/1913 of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison throwing herself under the King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby.
“In the 21st century it can not be acceptable for any women – or any person – to have to face threats and intimidation simply because she or he has dared to express a political opinion”.
“Thanks to the activism of the suffragettes, the franchise was extended to some women in 1918, and to all women over the age of 21 ten years later”.
Amnesty International tracked abuse on social media platforms in last year’s election and found that black MP Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, received nearly half of the abusive tweets sent. “This centenary should give us an opportunity to reflect on the many struggles that female activists have led and the victories they have won throughout the last 100 years”.
“Women have to reject being taken for fools”.
The Prime Minister said that despite gains made 100 years ago to “bring together all voices”, modern public debate had become “oppressively hostile”. While this is better than previous statistics of none, it highlights how inequality is still rife. But you don’t need to travel thousands of miles to meet women fighting for justice and equality. Only 32% of our MPs are women, only 6.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female.
During a speech in 1909, Millicent Fawcett posed the rhetorical question: “Why should the Maori women be in a superior position to that held by the women of England?” The Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Acts respectively came into effect in 1975. In the previous year in particular, women have been making a stand once again against treatment in the workplace, particularly since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, “Time’s Up” and the “Me Too” movements. We would ask you to guess who was paid what but we wouldn’t want to insult you.
Even then, the hard-fought battle for women’s suffrage was not as straightforward as it seemed.
Frustrated with years of peaceful campaigning, Britain’s Suffragettes adopted militant tactics in their fight for the vote, chaining themselves to railings, breaking shop windows and blowing up post boxes.
Richard High, Collections Engagement Librarian at Leeds University Library, says it’s an important document. They will remain from 3 February until 17 March.
Thirteen years later in 1984, voters backed the change 51.3% – 48.7%. In the US Parker Pillsbury and other abolitionist men also advocated universal suffrage.