Council marks 100 years of women’s vote by focusing on gender inequality today

See this published for Forge Press.

The Students’ Union and members of Sheffield City Council have commemorated the centenary of women gaining the right to vote.

Celeste Jones, Women’s Officer at the Students’ Union, said: “It is hard to believe that women only got the vote 100 years ago and we owe so much to the Suffragettes for this right. However it is so important to remember that only a small number of women were allowed to vote.

“Despite this, it is crucial to note that women are massively underrepresented in Parliament today as they make up just 32% of MP’s, and this is represented in our own student politics.

“To celebrate 100 years since the vote, I launched my #SheShouldRun Campaign to encourage more women to run for SU President and Development Officer positions, as both roles have been dominated by men in the past.”

“WOMEN ARE MASSIVELY UNDERREPRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT TODAY AND THIS IS REPRESENTED IN OUR OWN STUDENT POLITICS.”

The Council’s Deputy Leader Olivia Blake, has tabled a motion to the council highlighting this “important milestone”, but also addressing Britain’s current full-time gender pay gap of 14.1% and think-tank’s analysis showing austerity hits women “twice as hard as it does men”.

It comes as 100 years has passed since the Representation of People’s Act extended the franchise to 8.4 million women, initially for those over the age of 30 and with property rights, but later the right to vote was given to all women over the age of 18.

The motion also urges the Council to renew support for the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign, calling for transitional arrangements to be introduced for women impacted by the 2011 Pensions Act.

Speaking to the Council, Councillor Blake said: “Austerity and government cuts to services disproportionately affect women and give rise to situations which inhibit women from reaching their full potential. This cannot be right and must change.

“For the first time ever, Sheffield City Council has a female leader and deputy leader – as well a majority of female cabinet members. Sheffield Labour councillors have enacted far reaching measures to support women throughout the city.”

 

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