Today marks the centenary or women first getting the vote in the UK.
On 6 February 1918, the Representation of the People Act was brought into law.
At first the franchise extended to women above 30 who met a property qualification - while it was a right held by all men over the age of 21. It was not until 1928 with the Equal Franchise Act that all women gained the right to vote on equal terms with men (being 21 or older).
Tara Hussain, candidate for Lansbury this May said:
"I share my upmost gratitude for the suffragettes that fought for our basic human right to vote. If it wasn't for those brave women, I wouldn't be here today. We must carry on their legacy and make women equal in all spheres of life"
One hundred years later the campaign for political equality is not complete. While figures from recent elections show turnout between men and women being relatively similar, this cannot be said for representation. Only 208 in 650 MPs in Parliament today are women. And more locally only 12 out of 45 councillors in Tower Hamlets are women.
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, and candidate for Island Gardens this May said:
"I’m proud to be part of such a diverse team for the local elections in May. Women have the vote and can run for office but our voices still aren’t heard enough. Only 12 women sit on the local Council out of 45, and the opposition is entirely male. Please join our team and help us change that.”
We are proud to be running a gender balanced slate of candidates across our target wards, and are one of the most diverse slates of target candidates that we know of. We’ll be commemorating tonight at the #Vote100 edition of Lib Dem Pint, and also enjoying some of the rich suffragette history of East London with a walking tour on Saturday.
In the words of Elizabeth Stanton: 'The best protection any woman can have is courage’.
PS. It's not too late to put yourself forward as a candidate.