Celebrating 100 years of Welsh Women

A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst one of the founders of the British Suffragette Movement outside the Houses of Parliament in London. AFP PIC

A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst one of the founders of the British Suffragette Movement outside the Houses of Parliament in London. AFP PIC

Under the 1918 Act, all men over 21 (or over 19 if they were servicemen) were enfranchised.

Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, winning a by-election in Plymouth in 1919.

Lady Nancy Astor photographed in Plymouth during a 1919 election.

Today is the day that women have come out in force to celebrate the landmark achievements of the Suffragists in securing women the right to vote. To put that into context, that was a staggering 37 years before the Representation of the People Act 1918 in the United Kingdom.

The act exponentially increased the voting numbers as it abolished the property restrictions for men.

Sadly for fellow Suffragette Emily Davison, she never got to see her dreams of women at the ballot box in her lifetime. At its peak the NUWSS had more than 50,000 members.

But Emmeline Pankhurst, who was then a member of the NUWSS, chose to employ more direct and militant tactics, leading her to set up the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1906 with her two daughters, Sylvia and Christabel. Better known as "the suffragettes", the WSPU became known for its motto "deeds not words".

Sharon added: "The event was a one-off event, but it has gone so well we may look at applying for funding to host a bigger event later in the year".

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When World War I broke out in 1914, Pankhurst called a halt to the militant campaign in support of the government's war effort. Working-class women have had the right to vote since 1928, but the fight for the realities of their lives to be recognised and tackled within our democracy continues to this day.

Women and boys work a brass-finishing workshop in Westminster, London, during the First World War.

The women's suffrage movement itself has always been subject to contested accounts of how well it represented Britain's women and, indeed, how much it cared to.

Today marks 100 years since the first women were given the right to vote in the UK.

This woman will receive a statue in central Cardiff. Several pieces that touch upon the centenary either marginalise or altogether overlook the fact that, while a major stride was taken towards the political equality of the sexes in 1918, not all women were given the vote, and not all women got the vote on the same terms as men. According to her autobiography Nichelle Nichols (Lt Uhura in Star Trek) was told by Martin Luther King "she couldn't leave [the show] because she was a role model for millions of young girls and women - the only African-American on TV in a role worth having". Gaining the right to vote represents entry into a political community; it's supposed to pave the way to equal citizenship rights. Australia followed suit in 1902, though suffrage was still restricted for indigenous Australians.

And Labour is holding its shadow cabinet meeting at the Museum of London, where a large "Votes for Women" exhibition has just opened.

Voting has helped women achieve some rights but it has become abundantly clear that there is still a long way to go. We will also mark the progress we've made since then on women's rights and equality. The tragedy is that in the cusp of the 21st century, there are still countries where women are deprived of the vote or frowned upon sitting in parliament with men.

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