2018 sees the centenaries of the first pieces of legislation giving women the right to vote and to stand for election on the same terms as men
The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a milestone in British political and social history, as it allowed for some (but not all) women to exercise a right to vote for the first time. The 1ooth anniversary of this event is being marked in towns and cities all over the country, with the actual day of commemoration being February 6 2018.
Although it took another ten years for universal suffrage (votes for all women over 21 on equal terms with men) to come about, the 1918 Act represented a seismic shift in attitudes towards women and their role in society, arguably in line with broader changes on the home front brought about by the events of the Great War.
Another centenary this year also celebrates a landmark piece of legislation towards achieving democratic equality. The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918, permitted women over the age of 21, the same age as for men, to stand for election as an MP. This anniversary falls in November 2018.
April 2018 sees the 60th anniversary of the Life Peerages Act 1958, which allowed women to sit in the House of Lords for the first time. 2018 is certainly set to provide significant reminders of both the struggles and the successes for women’s political rights in the twentieth century.