Women want sex Centenary

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Infollowing years of bitter struggle, some women finally gained the right to vote. To mark this centenary, we asked politicians and campaigners, including Nicola Sturgeon, Diane Abbott and Theresa May, to reflect — politically and personally — on this momentous anniversary. W hen the first British women gained the right to vote, the celebrations were muted. The Great War was still raging in Februaryand the suffragette movement itself had splintered over whether to pause its campaign during the hostilities.

A century later, though, we should savour the triumph as fully as we can. The Representation of the People Act added 8. It also gave the vote to 5. The general election in December consulted an electorate three times the size of the one before it. One victory led to another. The bar to women running for parliament was quickly removed, and the first female MP was elected that year though, as an Irish republican, Constance Markievicz chose not to the Commons.

Yet progress for women has often felt painfully slow. When a year-old, pregnant Harriet Harman was elected in there were still only 19 female MPs. The election was the first time more than women were elected, out of seats. Ask female MPs now, and many worry the climate of vitriol on social media is putting off talented candidates, as is the spectre of sexual harassment.

Maternity leave rights, equal pay, domestic violence legislation — all of these Women want sex Centenary hard fights, and they will never be truly won, because laws are not enough. When steep fees were introduced by Chris Grayling inthe of employment tribunals fell sharply — until the supreme court ruled that the charges were illegal four years later. It was a reminder that rights are of little use unless they can be enforced. Still, we should be optimistic.

Female MPs now have strength in s — they are rarely a lone Women want sex Centenary in a room full of men, having to apologise for speaking at all. And true to the spirit of the suffragettes — who came from all kinds of political traditions — there is always quiet, cross-party feminist work happening in the Commons.

A bill to tackle violence against women is one of the few non-Brexit pieces of legislation put forward by the government in this parliamentary session. To commemorate the anniversary, here are politicians, campaigners and other prominent women on what the vote means to them — and where we should go next. Helen Lewis. Conservative prime minister since I first voted in October I had just turned 18 and was at university.

What does voting mean to me? It is their chance to have their say in who is running their country.

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There are women who gave up their lives to have the right to vote in this country and people who yearn, across the world, to have this freedom and so we should use it. Shadow home secretary My parents were keen voters.

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I was always excited about going to vote, so standing for election for the first time for Westminster city council in seemed extraordinary. Twelve years later, I was an observer at the first free elections in South Africa. Before dawn there were already queues of people. I watched them fill in their slip, Women want sex Centenary, before putting it in the ballot box, pause and look around.

I tell young people that story now to get them to think about the importance of voting. Parliament today is so different compared to 30 years ago. In [when Abbott first became an MP], women used to stand up to speak and men would shout you down. Yet despite this, voting means something to me, as both a right and a responsibility. I vote, even when I resent the process. This sense of duty is as much bound up in the past, as it is connected to today.

I have the right to vote because of those who have gone before me. I think about this not only in the context of years of votes for women, but also in the context of struggles around race and class. Thus, as we celebrate this centenary, I believe it is important to acknowledge painful truths, including that some prominent suffragettes were racist and anti-working-class, and that some women are still unable to vote. However, if we can hold these truths, we may also be able to challenge injustice, while imagining and creating an equal Women want sex Centenary.

Walking into the voting booth last year, I thought of Violet and countless women like her whose names are little known, many of their stories forgotten. Yet, as recent revelations from Weinstein to Westminster have proved, we continue to fight their battles to this day. It has never been more important for women to participate in democracy, to share our stories and to raise our voices. Bangladesh is a country that only came into existence because of a fight for democracy, so I grew up with an acute sense of the need to fight for the right to self-determination.

When I was six years old, there was another cycle of violence in Bangladesh following a military coup, which demonstrated how rights could be taken away literally overnight and instilled in me the need to continually fight to protect our rights. We must continue to promote our values and ideals so that our democracy can flourish. If you can just use that little bit of power, and exercise your vote, why would you not turn up? Why are you not important? You are important. We are a greedy generation. The younger generation will be the ones to suffer, and they should be angry.

At the last general election, they turned up. Now they need to flex their muscles and highlight the intergenerational injustice. Hearing from my parents what people like Mrs Pankhurst had gone through, I saw not voting as a betrayal. I voted the minute it was legal to do so, when I was 21, and at every opportunity after that.

Though I was in the rather paradoxical position of being the Labour agent for Chelsea for the election when I was 17 and not yet old enough to vote. I knew more about elected MPs than I did about voting. When I first got elected inthere were 29 female MPs. Being a woman in parliament was pretty odd. The fact that politics is not an easy space for women makes it more important for them to be involved, not less. InEmmeline Pankhurst said that the vote would create equality for women.

When you get involved in politics, you get a granular sense of what the obstacles are. So while I go to the ballot box every few years, I also believe that demonstrations, rallies and nonviolent direct action are hugely valuable parts of our democracy too. We undervalue democracy in this country, but pride ourselves on being its greatest defenders. It must be totally overhauled.

Whatever your take on the of the EU referendum, it demonstrated that if you give people a say, they can be very political indeed, as citizens who feel they can be genuine agents for change.

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Ultimately, when people start to feel their actions make a difference, they step up. Leader of the Scottish Conservative party I was in my first year of university when I cast my first vote, in the general election. My mate told me that one of the student bars was showing the through the night. That was quite character-building. In many ways women are outperforming men — last year more women than men were offered places at Cambridge — but you still see a very small percentage of women in the military, the church, in business, in politics. So we still have a long way to go.

People died and shed blood for the right to vote. Professor of education at Cambridge University I grew up in a coalmining community in a solidly Tory area in Leicestershire. Both my mum and nan were inordinately proud to vote. My mum would put on a red dress to go to the church hall and we, her seven daughters, would wear red dresses too. I was the first generation in my family to go to university and as time has gone on, there have been great changes for women.

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Celebrating the centenary of women in law: A major step towards equality and milestone worth marking