Achieving the right to vote was a huge stepping stone in the legitimisation of women not just in the political sphere but also as citizens in their own right.
It is such a proud moment for us to celebrate the tremendous courage of those brave women who fought so hard for change and the legacy they have left behind. As we celebrate these women, we should also look forward to the possibilities for the next 100 years and make 2018 a year of great achievement for women and girls everywhere.
Tuesday 6 February 2018 marked 100 years since the passing of The Representation of the People Act of 1918, which for the first time enfranchised some women over the age of 30. About 8.4 million women gained the vote.
While the Centenary is an opportunity for us to recognise how far we have progressed in the fight for gender equality, we must also recognise how much further we have to go. That’s why to mark the 100th anniversary Labour have launched a year-long campaign that will celebrate the great achievements of the women suffrage movement and look at how we can take the next steps to achieve full equality for women. Labour has a strong record on advancing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of. Almost every major piece of legislation that has improved the lives of working women has been introduced by a Labour Government.
Our challenge now must be to build on past achievements and push for full equality and protection for women: financially, in the workplace, in families and homes and in public spaces.
Sadly, many policies introduced by this government are turning back the clock on equality for women. Cuts to public services and social security are landing disproportionately on women. Women are facing increasing levels of sex discrimination, harassment, misogyny and violence but the government have taken limited action to improve gender equality and ensure better access to justice.
Labour in government will strengthen legislation around sex discrimination and introduce policies to tackle the structural and economic barriers that stop women from reaching their full potential.