14 CENTENARY Anniversary of women’s vote
... but the battle for equality goes on
The anniversary of women winning the right to vote was marked at Holyrood and Westminster – but leading politicians in East Kilbride say the battle for true equality is by no means over.
A year-long programme of events has been organised by the UK Parliament to mark 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was passed in February 1918, which gave all men and some women the vote for the first time.
Women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities gained the right to vote – equating to six million women.
It was seen as a landmark moment in the battle of the Suffragette movement led by Emmeline Pankhurst alongside her two daughters.
Emmeline founded and led the Women’s Social and Political Union, an organisation which was focused on direct action to win the vote.
However, women in their 20s did not get the vote until 1928.
The Vote 100 programme includes a wide range of events and activities commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality.
Throughout the year there will be a major exhibition in Westminster – Voice and Vote – as well as a programme of talks and tours in Parliament.
There will also be a number of UKwide events, such as EqualiTeas and UK Parliament Week 2018.
Schools and community groups in East Kilbride are encouraged to get involved in debating and celebrating this important anniversary in our democracy.
Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP, said:“The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a vital step towards the rights women have today, and the centenary of the Act is an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the extreme bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought – and in some cases died – for equality.
“Whether it’s chatting about the issues over a cup of tea, or engaging with one of the many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week, there are countless opportunities for schools and community groups across East Kilbride to get involved in this key anniversary.
“We all know that there is still more to do, and I look forward to working with people across East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow to ensure we create an even more equal society.”
Meanwhile, the town’s MSP, Linda Fabiani said: “As we celebrated last week the 100-year anniversary since some women secured the right to vote, it was an occasion for us all to reflect on progress to date and to look at all the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
“There’s still a long way to go when you consider ongoing representation and the gender pay gap.
“We recently legislated for gender balance on public-sector boards, with the creation of a new advisory council on women and girls.
“A new fund, backed by the Scottish Government, was also announced to encourage more women to become involved in politics and giving grants for local initiatives across the country. These are welcome developments towards true gender equality. We all have an important part to play.”
And Labour list MSP Monica Lennon said: “It’s as recent as 100 years ago that some women were given the right to vote.
“Women from all parts of the country and from all social backgrounds fought for this right and did so despite grave consequences for themselves.
“We should never take our right to vote for granted. We owe it to yesterday’s suffragettes and suffragists to never forget and to name and fight against gender inequality today.
“Persisting levels of pay inequality, sexism and gender-based violence are all rooted in women not being treated as equal to men.
“Ninety years ago, equal voting rights between men and women were achieved but equal representation in our parliaments, council chambers and boardrooms remains a slow journey.”
There’s still a long way to go when you consider ongoing representation and the gender pay gap
Way to go Monica Lennon MSP says there’s still a way to go for true equality
Landmark Female politicians in Holyrood mark the anniversary