Citizen

Women voting for 100 years

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The Representation of the People Act of 1918 granted votes to some British women for the first time.

Women over 30, who met a property qualification, were eligible to vote in elections, but men could vote if they were over 21.

In recognition of the 100 years, our four female Cabinet members, who are part of a gender-balanced Cabinet, gave their views on what the anniversary means to them. 

Councillor Sabia Hussain, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for transformation and performance, said: “When I joined SBC in 2012 I was the only young female councillor to juggle full time employment and a young family. I became Slough’s first BAME Deputy Leader in 2016 and one of only a handful in the country.

“So when I think of the suffragette movement I also think about women’s struggle for representation at every level. We’re still a long way off from equality and we must continue to have our voices heard, with a seat at decision making tables.”  

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “100 years ago, only some women won the right to vote – due to our foremothers shedding blood, sweat and tears for this right, some even paying the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I’ve voted in every single election since turning 18 and it never loses its magic or importance. Regardless of who you vote for, I urge all residents to use their vote. It is your voice, your chance to have a say and make a difference. We are very lucky to have this right and freedom when there are still so many women (and men) across the world who don’t have the freedom to vote for who they wish.” 

Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I am thinking about the stories of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for women in Britain. From the Great Pilgrimage of 1913, a six week march by the suffragists and non-militant supporters of votes for women who walked from Carlisle to London (contributing to women gaining universal suffrage in 1928), to the 101 Labour women elected to Parliament in 1997 that created laws to better the lives of women and their families. A lot has happened in 100 years to make the world a more equal place but there is still more to do.” 

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and education, said:It is 100 years on from the time when women gained the right to vote, a milestone which did not come without its struggles. As a woman in this century, that struggle will remain a source of motivation for me in my political role.

“Women everywhere are breaking the glass ceiling in politics but their voices still go unheard and their contributions are too often sidelined in Parliament. Fortunately I am part of a cabinet where we have a gender balance; where we are in a position to influence policy directions, change procedure and practices and serve as role models to other women.”

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