Celebrating The Centenary Of The Women's Vote
We're getting closer to February, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, a change in law that gave some women the right to vote in the UK. This allowed women over 30, who met a property qualification, to vote. 8.5 million women met this criteria, which at the time represented 40% of women in the UK. The change of law also allowed all men over 21 to vote, together this increased the electorate from 8 to 21 million.
As this is such an important event in the history of women's fight for equality, we decided that we wanted to highlight the women we love and are inspired by in a series of blog posts throughout the year.
Each week we will be highlighting inspiring women throughout history along with organisations and events that are working to create a more equal society by increasing the life quality and representation of women all over the world. This week we are starting with these three inspiring women:
Millicent was a suffragist who made it her lifetime’s work to secure votes for women. She started a petition for women’s suffrage in 1866 when she was 19, even though she was too young to sign it herself. In the 1870s she became well known as a speaker and lecturer after she spoke at the first public suffrage meeting in London, July 1869 and was present for the debate that resulted in the passing of the Representation of the People Bill, giving some women in the UK the right to vote for the first time. She's even getting her own statue in Parliament Square, portraying Fawcett holding a placard which reads ‘courage calls to courage everywhere’ – taken from a speech she gave after the death of Suffragette, Emily Wilding Davidson, at the Epsom Derby. Today the Fawcett Society carries on her good work campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.
Sophie was a reporter for 20 years and now stands as leader of The Women’s Equality Party. A new political party founded in March 2015 by Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig that puts women’s equality at the top of the agenda. Their mission is to have equal representation in parliament, equal pay, equal parenting and caregiving along with many other vital issues such as ending violence against women. If you’re interested in the Women’s Equality Party you can read more here.
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Deborah is a stand-up comedian, corporate speaker, screenwriter and host of one of our favourite podcasts, The Guilty Feminist. She was adopted as a young baby, raised in Australia and spent time as a Jehovah’s Witness. These days she’s empowering women all over the world with her podcasts and workshops. We listen to The Guilty Feminist every Monday in the studio, it’s the highlight of our week! Listen to the podcast here.