7 Ways to Celebrate 100 Years Since British Women Won the Vote
2018 is an important year — and we all deserve something a bit special.
Today is a big day.
Exactly 100 years ago, the 1918 Representation of the People Act was passed — giving some women the vote for the very first time.
Not all women, though — you had to have property, and be over the age of 30. It took another decade until the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act gave all women over the age of 21 the right to vote.
But a leak must come before a flood — and today is a better day than most to start celebrating how far we’ve come. Especially if you’re in London — it’s a landmark city in the history of the British women’s suffrage, and a century later, feminism still runs through its veins. Here are some ideas of how you can celebrate this milestone in world history.
Clear your diaries for the rest of the year. There’s too much to do!
1) Go to the March for Women
Where? Trafalgar Square
When? March 4
Not to be confused with the Women’s March, this demonstration has a specific remit: to end gender discrimination and violence in the workplace. Care International recognises that poorer women are more vulnerable, and have been pressing for a global law that challenges governments to strengthen their own legislation on the issue.
First there’s a march, then there’s a rally with music and poetry in Trafalgar Square. We went last year — and had a lovely chat with suffragette royalty Helen Pankhurst. Would recommend to a friend!
2) Jump on a feminist bus tour
Where? Museum of London, then the not-so-open road.
When? February 24
The movement for gender equality is gaining pace all the time, so why not celebrate with a few educational hours stuck in traffic? Rachel Kolsky, author of “Women's London”, will lead the tour, following in the footsteps of suffragists, suffragettes, and everything in between.
The feminists on the bus go loud and proud!
3) Feminist arts and crafts
Where? Just, everywhere.
Calling all creatives — your beautiful brains have a date with design.
At the London School of Economics library you can join a knitting group to create a centenary banner on March 8 or make your own suffrage campaign badge on May 30. Fancy chatting about women’s rights over a cuppa? Then head over on July 2 for some equali-tea.
More banner-making is happening with artist Becci Kenning on March 10 — it’s free, and, of course, there will be more tea and coffee.
You want more? More, you say? Then add some flash to your feminism with Tatty Devine and a suffragette jewellery masterclass at the Museum of London on March 17. But before that, do not miss seeing the portrait of Millicent Fawcett by artist Annie Swynnerton at Tate Britain. It’s the first time it’s been there for 30 years, and will head out to the Manchester Art Gallery on February 12.
4) Take a stand with refugee women
When? March 8
On International Women’s Day, let’s go to Parliament. Invite your local MP and help All Women Count lobby the powers that be to demand safety, dignity, and liberty for all women.
It’s easy to forget that some women still don’t have the right to vote, and it’s on us to amplify the voices of migrant and refugee women where it matters. Get involved — the fight is far from over!
The UK government currently locks up over 4,000 asylum-seeking and migrant women every year. Immigration detention is traumatic and unnecessary and needs to end. https://t.co/C1SqtkDKqk#AllWomenCountpic.twitter.com/cMdg6zNgPW— WomenforRefugeeWomen (@4refugeewomen) February 2, 2018
5) Treat yourself and go to the theatre
Where? The Old Vic
When? March 11
Don’t miss this — it’s a one-off.
Maxine Peake, who you’ll know from “Shameless” and the black and white episode of “Black Mirror”, is curating a series of monologues to explore the history of the women’s rights movement.
It’s going to be epic.
Celebrate #IWD2018 and #Vote100 with a series of monologues curated by Maxine Peake in #OneVoice One Hand Tied Behind Us, marking 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act gave the first women in Britain the right to vote https://t.co/NQq5JQ7ab2pic.twitter.com/7fzyFeYwOQ— The Old Vic (@oldvictheatre) January 28, 2018
6) Get inspired at the National Archives
Where? The National Archives. Duh.
Talks! Films! Debates!
All the good stuff is going on down the National Archives. Head to a film screening of “Suffragettes” on February 9, take your kids to their Time Travel Club on February 13, or head to a debate on feminist militancy with suffrage academics Dr. Fern Riddell, Elizabeth Crawford, and Professor Krista Cowman on February 20. Then on March 15, Diane Atkinson will be talking to people about her new book “Rise Up Women!”
Next week sees the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act receiving royal assent. In preparation, listen to our podcast about key suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst #Vote100https://t.co/odrvIvlsxCpic.twitter.com/TV0yMCtnZT— National Archives UK (@UkNatArchives) February 1, 2018
7) Most importantly, take action
Where? Here, just here, on this very screen.
When? Right now.
It took 50 years of campaigning until the 1918 Representation of the People Act finally passed. But a century later there’s still so much more work to do. Whether it’s battling to abolish archaic laws that permit child marriage or giving women back control of their own bodies — the fight is on.
Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, including Goal No.5 for gender equality. Take action with us here.