14 CEN­TE­NARY An­niver­sary of women’s vote

... but the bat­tle for equal­ity goes on

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Findlay

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

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