Margaret Greenwood MP Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

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06 Feb 2018

Margaret Greenwood MP, Shadow Minister for Employment and Inequalities and MP for Wirral West said,

“Today I am celebrating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act which for the first time gave women the right to vote in the United Kingdom. It enfranchised around 8.5 million women although it was not until 10 years later that all women were finally given the right to vote.

“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.

“It’s hard to imagine that women were not allowed to vote in this country. We owe the women who fought for that right a huge debt of gratitude.

“One thing we can all do to celebrate their achievement is make sure that all of the women – and men - we know are registered to vote.

“I would urge anyone who knows someone who may not be registered to make sure they don’t miss out.

“As we celebrate the women who fought so hard for the right to vote, 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.

“It is the suffragettes who are chiefly remembered today, but there were women from all walks of life involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage, including many women trade unionists, such as shop workers and factory operatives.

“In commemorating the campaign for women’s suffrage, we can draw inspiration from them as we seek to ensure equality in the workplace.

“A Labour government passed the Equal Pay Act in 1970, but despite the progress made since then, the gender pay gap was still 9.1% in 2017

“Cuts to public services and social security are disproportionately affecting women and women make up over 60% of those earning less than the living wage set by the Living Wage Foundation.

“Women continue to play a greater role in caring for children and sick or elderly relatives. As a result more women work part time (42% compared with 11 % of men) and part-time jobs are typically lower paid with fewer opportunities for progression.

“Discrimination in the workplace against women who become pregnant is also all too common. Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Department for Business found that around 54,000 new mothers are forced out of their jobs in Britain each year.

“We need to strengthen legislation to prevent sex discrimination of this kind so that every woman is able to reach her full potential."

People can register to vote from 16 years of age, and vote from the age of 18. You can register to vote online by visiting or by contacting Wirral Council on 0151 691 8046.

Alice Ker, only the thirteenth woman to qualify as a doctor, helped found the Birkenhead and Wirral Suffrage Society in 1893 whilst working as a GP and at the Wirral Hospital for Sick Children.

She was to be imprisoned in Holloway Prison, London, in 1912 after taking part in a demonstration in London by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

The Liverpool Women’s Suffrage Society was founded in 1894. In 1897 Eleanor Rathbone became secretary of the Society and in 1909 she became the first woman to be elected to Liverpool city council.

She was later to become an MP between 1929 and 1946 and was known especially for her campaign for family allowances, the forerunner of Child Benefit, which were first introduced by the then Labour government in 1946.