The struggle for gender equality 100 years on…
6 February 2018 is the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which allowed the first women, and all men, to vote for the first time. The 1918 Act gave the vote only to women over 30 and certain privileged female groups.
Photo credit: Museum of London
Photo credit: Alamy
The 1918 Representation of the People Act was the start of female suffrage in Great Britain. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons (385 for to 55 against) – an element of support that surprised the Suffragettes and other suffragist movements. The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave women of property over the age of 30 the right to vote – not all women, therefore, could vote – but it was a major start.
It was not until 1928 that the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, finally achieving full suffrage in the UK, giving the vote to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men.
The Suffragettes: Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928)
Sophia Duleep Singh: Suffragette Princess
Emily Wilding Davison and the Suffragette banner