In 2018 the LGA will support and highlight activities marking the anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, giving the first women the right to vote.
2018 is the anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, giving women over 30 the right to vote. Women also gained other opportunities to join in civic life that year, enabling them to become magistrates and extending their right to sit as councillors. Organisations like Women Citizens Associations grew to support women as they joined in democracy.
From Suffrage Campaigns to Citizenship – identifying 100 suffrage pioneers
The Women's Local Government Society, a cross-party and independent organisation which campaigned to enable women to stand as local councillors, is leading the "From Suffrage Campaigns to Citizenship" project with partners including Buckinghamshire County Council and the LGA.
They have identified 100 women who were active in the campaign for votes, and who went on to use the extended rights to citizenship in a positive way locally. Local celebrations are now being arranged to recognise the contribution of these women to their local areas. The final list of 100 pioneers was announced on International Women’s Day (8 March 2018).
The project’s legacy hopefully will be seen in more nominations from women and other under-represented groups at the next local elections, the holding of school mock elections and the establishment of youth councils, new volunteers for local organisations in subsequent years and similar.
Just as suffrage pioneers went on to play other roles in civic life having succeeded in campaigning for the extension of the franchise, we hope this project will engage more people in civic and community life in your area. The LGA’s Be A Councillor campaign aims to use the centenary celebrations to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider becoming a councillor.
The Women’s Vote Centenary Grant Scheme
The Government has announced a £5 million fund to help local areas celebrate the centenary. Details of the scheme have now been published, with the Small Grant Scheme now open for applications from local and community groups for a grant of between £300 and £2,000 for activities to mark the centenary. There is also a large grant scheme, which will provided funds of between £2,000 and £125,000.
Full details are available on the centenary fund website.