Women's suffrage centenary celebrations underway

Simon Stephens, 08.02.2018
Museums running activities across the UK
Museums and galleries across the UK have kicked off a year of activities related to the Representation of the People Act 1918, which came into effect 100 years ago this week and paved the way for all women getting the vote.

The act passed on 6 February 1918, extending the vote to 12.9 million men and, for the first time, 8.4 million women over the age of 30. Ten years later, the Equal Franchise Act granted equal voting rights to women and men.

To mark the centenary, Royal Holloway, University of London, and the UK Parliament have developed Vote 100 UK, a range of resources exploring the history of women's rights and suffrage. Other partners in Vote 100 UK include the Museums Association, the National Archives, the National Trust and the People's History Museum in Manchester.

The Government Equalities Office has also created an online hub with resources relating to the centenary, including a list of events.

A wide range of events are being planned to commemorate the centenary of women's suffrage, ranging from festivals and plays to academic conferences and exhibitions.

The People's History Museum is marking the centenary with a programme of activities to encourage people to discuss, discover and reflect on what representation means to them 100 years on. This includes Wonder Women 2018, a radical feminist festival that features exhibitions, tours, debates, performances and one-off screenings happening across Manchester throughout March.

Glasgow Women's Library is staging a show by Fiona Jack that presents a collection of new works responding to the work and life of her great grand aunt, the prominent Scottish activist and suffragette Helen Crawfurd. The artist has made a series of books, banners, sculptures and ceramics that respond to her legacy.

The Women's Suffrage Movement in Wales is being held at the Senedd, Cardiff, from 5-16 March. The exhibition will explore the diversity in the approaches of the various women's suffrage movements active at the start of the 20th century in Wales and will also look at gender representation in the Welsh Assembly from its inception in 1999.

Abbey House Museum in Leeds is holding A Woman's Place?, which looks at the struggles and progress of women in achieving equality and recognition. The exhibition is running throughout the year alongside a programme of talks, study days and schools workshops.

During the summer, the Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament exhibition will be staged in Westminster Hall. It will cover the campaign for votes for women and the representation of women in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

And the Houses of Parliament in London is encouraging individuals and organisations to hold events or activities to mark the Representation of the People Act 1928 under the banner EqualiTeas. The aim is to bring people together to discuss equality.

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