Today 100 years ago some women, not all, were given the right to vote and the franchise was extended to all men over the age of 21.
Laws didn’t extend to all women, they had to be over the age of 30 and they needed further qualifying criteria such as owning a property; but a historic period of great change was happening and it affected around eight million women.
The suffragette movement is well documented and exactly 100 years ago today we commemorate the Representation of the People Act. It was another 10 years before the Equal Franchise Act was passed to bring women’s voting age in line with men.
While this period was undoubtedly a huge milestone, those who embarked on the fight for change didn’t appreciate that the very system they had so wanted to be part of was also very unlikely to represent them.
So, the fight has now moved to a new direction; I have joined the campaign with Make Votes Matter, a cross party campaign to introduce Proportional Representation to the House of Commons.
Along with 407 other supporters of the campaign I am fasting for 24 hours (from today) to highlight the need for a fair and representative voting system and also, for me its in memory of those doughty women who so bravely campaigned for their equal right to vote.
Until the Act of Parliament some 70% of the population had no vote, and yet 100 years later (at the last election in 2017) 68% of votes had no meaningful impact! The current First Past the Post system doesn’t even do what it’s supporters say it does which is to produce strong and stable government.