100 years ago today was the first time that women were able to vote in a General Election and also the first time that women were allowed to stand for election to Parliament.
This was achieved after more than eight decades of campaigning by both men and women, including the courageous suffragettes.
Although only some women got the right to vote in 1918, the change led the way to all women getting the vote ten years later and forced politicians to consider ‘what will women think?’ when they wrote their manifestos and put new laws into place.
In the 21st Century most of us can only imagine a time where women had no legal status, no rights over their own children, no ability to divorce, except for the wealthiest (and only in the cruelest of circumstances).
The right to vote led to significant improvements to women’s basic rights and later to progressive laws like equal pay and the Sex Discrimination Act.
Voting itself and being registered to vote are so important; women should be heard, their voices counted and their views known. On this important anniversary I’d urge all women to make sure they are registered to vote.
Make sure you’re registered to vote in upcoming local elections and in case a snap general election or referendum. New voter registration rules mean that you now have to register every year.
You can register easily online www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Councillor Linda Woodings
Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage