100 YEARS SINCE THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT (1918)
In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. Although 8.5 million women met this criteria, it was only about two-thirds of the total population of women in the UK.
The same Act abolished property and other restrictions for men, and extended the vote to virtually all men over the age of 21. Additionally, men in the armed forces could vote from the age of 19. The electorate increased from eight to 21 million, but there was still huge inequality between women and men.
Our speakers explore this topic from the point of view of:
Working Class Women winning the vote
Black Women and current day representation
WORKING-CLASS WOMEN WINNING THE VOTE
Despite the focus on the Pankhursts, working-class campaigners were always central to women over 30 winning the vote in 1918 (and all women over 21 in 1928).
In Manchester and the cotton towns of Lancashire, radical suffragists led the way. As early as 1901, a Petition was presented to Parliament signed by no fewer than 29,000 women who worked in the Lancashire cotton mills. Distanced from the Pankhursts’ suffragette militancy, they worked through Mrs Fawcett’s suffragist National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.
In Yorkshire, the story was different. Working-class women were inspired by the Pankhursts’ oratory. They became suffragettes, joined the Women’s Social and Political Union and went to prison.
Both suffragettes and suffragists redoubled their efforts in 1913-14 ~ and eventually saw victory in 1918 and 1928.
WHY WE NEED WOMEN IN POSITIONS OF POWER
CHARLIE BRADES-PRICE (50:50 PARLIAMENT)
Is having two female prime ministers enough? The moment Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister was feminism won? The gate keepers of positions of power for too long have operated in a one in one out door policy. This is not representation. This is tokenism.
Women have the right to be in power, and how one woman should not have to represent ALL women.