Women's Right to Vote

100 Years Ago British Women Finally Won The Right To Vote

On the centenary of women's right to vote Conservative Friends of Pakistan invite all women to come forward and stand for Public Life. Join and Subscribe to CFOP at www.cfop.org.uk and come to our upcoming events and discuss how we can get you in touch with various training programmes and the Candidates Selection Team.


Historical Perspective

Before 1918 no women were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. In the early 20th century there were two main groups active in the campaign for women's suffrage, a term used to describe the right to vote.

These two groups were the 'suffragists' who campaigned using peaceful methods such as lobbying, and the 'suffragettes' who were determined to win the right to vote for women by any means. Their militant campaigning sometimes included unlawful and violent acts which attracted much publicity.


Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) became involved in women's suffrage in 1880. She was a founding member of the WSPU in 1903 and led it until it disbanded in 1918. Under her leadership the WSPU was a highly organised group and like other members she was imprisoned and went on hunger strike protests. https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/



J W Louther

James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater GCB PC JP DL (1 April 1855 – 27 March 1949) was a British Conservative politician. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons between 1905 and 1921.

During 1916-1917, the House of Commons Speaker, James William Lowther, chaired a conference on electoral reform which recommended limited women's suffrage.

Only 58% of the adult male population was eligible to vote before 1918. An influential consideration, in addition to the suffrage movement and the growth of the Labour Party, was the fact that only men who had been resident in the country for 12 months prior to a general election were entitled to vote.

This effectively disenfranchised a large number of troops who had been serving overseas in the war. With a general election imminent, politicians were persuaded to extend the vote to all men and some women at long last.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. Although 8.5 million women met this criteria, it only represented 40 per cent of the total population of women in the UK.

The same act abolished property and other restrictions for men, and extended the vote to all men over the age of 21. Additionally, men in the armed forces could vote from the age of 19. The electorate increased from eight to 21 million, but there was still huge inequality between women and men.

It was not until the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 that women over 21 were able to vote and women finally achieved the same voting rights as men. This act increased the number of women eligible to vote to 15 million.


After the Representation of People Act gave about 8.4 million women the vote, the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 was passed in November 1918, allowing women to be elected to Parliament. Several women stood for election to the House of Commons in 1918, but only one, the Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin St. Patrick's, Constance Markievicz, was elected; however she chose not to take her seat at Westminster and instead sat in Dáil Éireann (the First Dáil) in Dublin. The first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons was Nancy Astor on 1 December 1919, having been elected as a Coalition Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton on 28 November 1919. As Members of Parliament, women also gained the right to become government ministers. The first women cabinet minister and Privy Council member was Margaret Bondfield who was Minister of Labour from 1929 to 1931.




Countess Markievicz

Constance Georgine Markievicz, known as Countess Markievicz (4 February 1868 – 15 July 1927) was an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. On 28 December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Markievicz

Nancy Astor

Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, Viscountess Astor, CH (19 May 1879 – 2 May 1964) was the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat. She served in Parliament as a member of the Conservative Party for Plymouth Sutton until 1945. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Astor,_Viscountess_Astor


Amnesty International Celebrating the Suffragette Spirit #SuffragetteSpirit

The incredible work of the suffragettes – ordinary women who stopped at nothing to get their voices heard – paved the way for a century of progress in women’s rights. The suffragette spirit is alive and well in Britain today. Thousands of women across the UK are still fighting for our rights. They stand up to racism, sexism, homophobia, corruption and much more. We want to find these women and celebrate their work by creating a map of women human rights defenders in the UK. We hope this map will inspire the next generation of suffragettes to continue their legacy over the next 100 years.



Vote100 are celebrating this important milestone in the UK’s democratic history. #VOTE100

A series of exhibitions and events are taking place to engage the public with the UK Parliament and the struggle for the vote. These events will take place between February-December 2018. Visit Westminster Hall between 27 June and 6 October 2018 and experience an amazing interactive exhibition covering the campaign for votes for women and the representation of women in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.



Women2Win, leading the campaign to elect more Conservative women to Parliament.

Women2Win was founded in 2005 by Baroness Jenkin of Kennington and Rt. Hon Theresa May MP to address the need for more female Conservative candidates and MPs. Women2Win are leading the campaign to elect more Conservative women to Parliament with the support of a broad cross section of men and women from the Conservative Party.



The Conservative Women's Organisation founded in 1919 want you to #AskHerToStand

The CWO is the grassroots network that provides support and focus for women in the Conservative Party, while Encouraging women to be politically active and to get elected at all levels. In this centenary of women's suffrage, we need more women like you and your friends to stand for public life as councillors, school governors, MPs, Assembly Members, Mayors, Police & Crime Commissioners, MSPs and Magistrates. You must know at least one woman who would be brilliant at one of those roles, so why don't you #AskHerToStand?



Latest News

In a speech to mark the centenary of women's right to vote on Tuesday, Britain's second female Prime Minister will praise the "heroism" of suffragettes as she outlines proposals to deal with online "bitterness and aggression". Theresa May will announce a crackdown on social media abuse, amid concerns the coarsening of political debate is deterring women from entering public life.



Article compiled from various online resources, the links of which have been shared for the wider benefit of all.