Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, is raising awareness of a new Parliamentary exhibition which tells the story of the fight for women’s suffrage and democratic equality. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first women receiving the right to vote and to stand for election as Members of Parliament. The exhibition tells the hidden story of the valiant fight by women for universal suffrage: the campaigning, the protests and the achievements. It also examines where we are today, and shows that anyone can make change happen and exercise their democratic rights.
Graham commented: “It’s seems incredible that it’s only 100 years since some women won the right to vote and to stand for election as Members of Parliament. This excellent exhibition tells the hidden story of women’s suffrage: the campaigning, the protests and the achievements. We can celebrate that 489 women MPs have been elected since 1918, but compared to the 4,503 men over that same period it’s clear there is a way to go with regards to an equal Parliament. In some ways, things moved quite quickly in that it was only 50 years from when they could stand that we got our first female Prime Minister; but more needs to be done to persuade women they can do it now. There are currently 208 women MPs, out of 650. I want to see more women inspired to take their place in Westminster to ensure we have a truly representative Parliament. It is my hope that exhibitions such as the Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament will encourage more women to enter politics at all levels.
“Constituents visiting the exhibition are welcome to contact me and I’ll do my best to arrange for a tour of parliament while they’re in Westminster. Contact me here”
Among the items in this innovative exhibition are re-creations of lost historical spaces of the Palace of Westminster, rare and previously unseen historic objects, pictures and archives from the Parliamentary collections and elsewhere. Visitors will delve into the past and discover what women would have experienced in: The Cage, The Tomb, The Chamber and The Ventilator.
Melanie Unwin, Co-Curator of the Voice and Vote exhibition, said: “This innovative exhibition immerses visitors in lost historical spaces, and shows the barriers that women had to overcome to participate in democracy. For the first time, we have recreated the sounds and atmosphere of the uncomfortable spaces which women were confined to – to show the magnitude of what campaigners and early women MPs achieved despite the limitations placed on them. Revealing this hidden history should help inspire us all to make use of the rights that women of generations past have dedicated their lives to.”
Rare historic exhibits from around the country, some of which have never been on public display before, help to tell the story of the battle for women to gain the right to vote. The exhibition is free and on until October 6th.