They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, but how many words can we use to describe one of the most progressive and important moves made in history towards women’s rights?
This morning students and staff members of Southampton Solent University gathered in their masses to take a commemorative photo to celebrate 100 years since women were given the right to vote. Standing together, these women of different ages, races, and backgrounds were united in pride and strength, all to show the university’s support for the centenary of the cause.
There were a number of events going on across the country on Tuesday just like this one to mark the day in which the first step was taken towards giving all women the right to vote for their government. The Representation of the People Act came about in February 1918, this granted wealthy, upper-class women over 30 the right to vote, along with men over 21. It wasn’t until 1928 that eventually women of all classes were given the right to vote. This was the first act in history which paved the way towards more equal rights for women, something which we are, unfortunately, still campaigning for even today.
To see so many women gathered together, especially students, to celebrate such an important event for women was undoubtedly enough to inspire anyone, but it was an especially proud moment for Julie Hall, a member of staff at Solent who helped to organize the event.
“It was wonderful to see so many students and staff celebrating this important milestone. 100 years later we still have a lot to fight for with issues like sexual harassment and gender pay gaps.
“We also have a lot to celebrate and I am pleased to see more women at the university, more women taking part in politics and more women able to follow their career aspirations.”
It’s true that there is plenty to be celebrated today, however as Julie said, it is impossible to ignore the fact that we have so much left to fight for. Still, there is hope that in another 100 years we’ll be celebrating another victory for women, perhaps equal pay for women, or justice for victims of sexual harassment.
If you missed out on celebrating the centenary at the Spark, not to worry, there’s still plenty of events coming up for you to show your support. “The next big date in the calendar for women is International Women’s Day on 8th March” Julie told me, “I look forward to more opportunities and events to come together then.” From Tuesday’s turn out in the Spark, it’s clear that she’s not the only one.
By Phoebe Denman