Thurs March 8th lecture 11-12noon £2
Running until Saturday, March 24, Votes for Women, is on at the City Archives, Molineux Hotel Building, Whitmore Hill, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SF admission to the exhibition is free.
Women of Wolverhampton and The Fight for Women’s Equality opens at the Lichfield Street gallery on Saturday, May 26, and is also free
At Wolverhampton Art Gallery, on Thursday, March 8, emerging academic and art historian Hannah Squire will give an illustrated International Women’s Day Talk about the forthcoming exhibition Women of Wolverhampton and The Fight for Women’s Equality, celebrating the city’s Suffrage campaigners, factory workers, women artists and activists, and their part in the national movement for gender equality.
The talk will take place from 11am to noon, and costs £2 per person.This year marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law allowing the first women and all men in the UK to vote.
To celebrate this milestone the City of Wolverhampton Archives and Wolverhampton Art Gallery are hosting two exhibitions and a talk to explore how the change in legislation transformed the lives of women and how the women of Wolverhampton played a significant part in the fight for women’s right to vote.
It looks at the contribution of women from Wolverhampton in the fight to gain the vote.
The exhibition is free and showcases historical documentation, and imagery of the women involved in this triumph.
Visitors can see Votes for Women during the City Archives’ opening times on Wednesdays (1pm - 7pm), Thursdays and Fridays (10am - 4pm) and Saturdays (10am - 1pm).
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “I am delighted the city archives and gallery are highlighting the huge part the people of Wolverhampton played in securing the right to vote for women.
“I would urge everyone to go along to these fabulous exhibitions. Not only is it a chance to learn more about this critical moment in history, it is an opportunity to pay tribute to the determination and strength of those involved in the fight.”
The Act widened suffrage by enfranchising women who were (a) over 30 and who (b) met minimum property qualifications. It also abolished almost all property qualifications for men because otherwise millions of returning male soldiers would not have been entitled to vote because of property and residential qualifications.
These changes saw the size of the electorate triple from 7.7 million to 21.4 million. Women accounted for about 43% of the electorate, but women were still not politically equal, as men could vote from the age of 21. The age 30 requirement was to ensure women did not become the majority of the electorate. If women had been enfranchised based upon the same requirements as men, they would have been in the majority, due to the loss of men in the war.
In 1928 women and men were treated equally and all over 21 got vote.
Incidentally the Act also instituted the present system of holding General Elections on one day, and brought in the annual electoral register.