100 years ago today, women - those who were over the age of 30, who owned property and/or who were married - gained the right to exercise their democratic right to vote. With this new law, 40 per cent of women in the UK were able to vote (but it wouldn’t be until 1928 that women could vote on an equal basis to men).
This achievement was the result of generations of campaigning. Although they are considered heroes today, these courageous women and men endured ostracism, beatings, imprisonment and some even sacrificed their own life for their beliefs and convictions.
Girls’ Brigade Ministries Director Julie Murdy reflects on the importance of this anniversary: ‘Giving the vote to women in 1918 was a key moment in women’s history and opened the way for women to work together to fight for justice in many areas affecting them – health, work and pay, maternity benefits and education. Both the Suffragists and Suffragettes inspired their own and future generations to work together to improve the lives of women and to provide opportunities that would not have previously existed.’
Julie continues ‘Through the work of GB Ministries we have, for 125 years, been working to equip and inspire generations of girls and women to challenge inequalities, to know that they are not limited by their gender and to emerge as leaders for such a time as this.'
With less than one-third of female MPs, with more men named John as CEOs in FTSE 100 companies than women and with the #metoo campaign demonstrating the sexual harassment that some women are subjected to in some spheres of life, full equality is yet to be achieved but Girls’ Brigade Ministries is contributing to building a new hope-filled narrative for girls.
Dr Claire Rush, GB’s Advocacy Co-ordinator, adds ‘Across the world, Girls’ Brigade leaders are helping girls to develop and use their gifts and skills, and to discover, embrace and live life to the full in their generation. GB is full of hope-bringers and generation-shapers who are helping girls understand their God-given worth and finishing the great work started by the Suffragists and Suffragettes 100 years ago.’
Tune into TWR-UK at 11am on Saturday to hear Claire speak more about the importance of this anniversary as well as how GB is transforming the lives of girls around. See here for more details about how to listen here.
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