One hundred years ago today, Parliament took the first steps towards giving women the vote. It is poignant to realise in 1918 I could have been voiceless in a workhouse, unable to vote and certainly not able to become an MP.
The actions of campaigners such as Emily Wilding Davison, who on the night of the 1911 census, illegally hid in a broom cupboard in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in Parliament. Thus recording her address on the night as the Houses of Parliament. This act was commemorated by the late Tony Benn and others when a plaque was installed in the broom cupboard of the Chapel and remains there to this day. Emily later lost her life in the fight for women rights when in 1913 she threw herself in front of the Kings horse at Epson Derby, to bring attention to the cause.
Or the struggle of the Pankhurst family, Emmaline, Christabel and Sylvia who lived for many years in the Seedley area of Salford, and dedicated their lives fighting for the rights of women. Despite being arrested and imprisoned many times, their fight continued, and culminated in the Representation of the People Act 1918 and 1928.
I thank these brave women of the suffragettes movement for the chances we now have but with gender inequality a ‘ferocious’ issue, we still have a long way to go.