Rochdale celebrates 100 years of women voting

Marie Harrington
February 7, 2018

It's been 100 years since women won the right to vote.

Tuesday marks 100 years since some British women were first guaranteed the right to vote. Following independence in 1947, Pakistan adopted universal suffrage for legislative elections - with women granted the right to vote in national elections in 1956.

The granddaughter of one of Ireland's foremost suffragettes has said it is women's place to take direct action for equality.

However over the next ten years laws were introduced that eliminated women's rights from serving on juries, working after marriage, and working in industry.

"There is also more to be done to raise awareness of the role played by Indian princess Sophia Duleep Singh in the Suffragette movement, and there are many suggestions of gay relationships within the movement that deserve wider exposure, but the history of those times - so often written by men - was coy at keeping official records of them".

"So I will take a look at it, but I must be frank, it is complicated because if you're going to give a legal pardon for things like arson and violence it's not as straightforward as people think it might be, but I will certainly look at proposals".

In the northwestern English city of Manchester, the birthplace of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, May hailed the centenary of "a huge and irreversible step towards creating a truly universal democracy".

Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington said her grandmother, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, would be surprised by how little has been achieved in terms of equal rights for women in the last 100 years.

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"They [the anti-suffrage images] are portraying the suffragettes as being absolute harridans, slovenly housewives, appalling mothers, that they were ugly, that they looked like men, that they were lesbians", says Ms Atherton.

They include a magazine called Votes For Women, issued by the Women's Social and Political Union, and a rare medal dating back to 1912, presented to a suffragette called Alice Davies for taking part in a hunger strike in protest against the treatment of women.

"In the 21st century it can not be acceptable for any women - or any person - to have to face threats and intimidation simply because she or he has dared to express a political opinion". Many of those women were treated appallingly by society and the state.

Her measures will sit alongside a commitment from the minister for women and equalities, Amber Rudd, to offer 2.5 million pounds ($3.5 million) for schemes to increase women's participation in political and public life.

Mr Corbyn told his top team that the convictions of suffragettes "were politically motivated and bore no relation to the acts committed".

Originally, under the leadership of Fawcett, the movement was largely moderate.

Critics say her cautious approach has increasingly left her hostage to the deep divisions among her ministers, especially over Brexit, with some concerned the European Union has now gained the upper hand in talks. She was not looking for a pardon but a change in the law.

Fear of such attacks prompted museums to request women leave their bags and coats in cloakrooms, to stop activists concealing weapons, but a century on the Suffragettes have themselves become exhibition subjects.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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