Celebrating a Centenary of Women’s Suffrage
A hundred years ago, on 6th February 1918, the first British women gained the right to vote. Under the Representation of the People Act, all men over 21 and women over 30 who met a property qualification were granted the vote, (although it was another 10 years before all women over 21 were granted this privilege.)
This major milestone didn't just happen: it was the culmination of decades of determined, fearless campaigning by women and men across Britain, who faced ridicule, abuse, poverty, surveillance and arrest in their fight for the vote.
At the time, celebrations were muted, because the Great War was still in full swing. Many suffragettes had doubts about celebrating at such a time: Sylvia Pankhurst later pointed out that “the sorrows of the world conflict precluded jubilation”. We need have no such doubts now, and there will be reminders and celebrations throughout the year. Hopefully, these reminders of the struggle to win the right to partake in democracy will encourage more people to vote. Let’s get involved in the conversation!