Campaign to honour women launches

Lesley Clarke: suffrage campaign
Lesley Clarke: suffrage campaign

A campaign is being launched today (Wednesday) to coincide with International Women’s Day.

It is being led by Bucks county councillor Lesley Clarke OBE and aims to honour 100 pioneers who helped get women the vote.

The influential Women’s Local Government Society, chaired by Mrs Clarke OBE, a Buckinghamshire county and Wycombe district councillor is calling on people from across the country to identify, research and nominate those women and men who were active in the campaign to extend the vote to women.

The ambitious project runs from now until 2018, to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the legislation that first allowed property-owning women over 30 to vote.

Mrs Clarke said that the project not only provides the chance to honour those people who made a difference, but also gives local people, schools and other groups the chance to do some real detective work to find and fully research their nominated person.

She said: “People take voting for granted these days, but the reality is that its been hard fought, particularly for women, so it’s absolutely right that we should be celebrating this landmark for democracy.

“We’re looking for ‘suffrage pioneers’ - those ordinary people who did extraordinary things to bring about changes in the law.

“It’s so important we tell their stories, both in the run-up to 1918 and beyond.

“We really want people to travel back in time and unearth these potentially untold stories.

“Perhaps your grandparents or other family members might have been activists?

“Perhaps there’s a local statue of someone or folklore about a person who helped bring about the change?

“Whatever it is, we want to know about it!

“The best part is that we really don’t know what local people will unearth, but I’m sure we’re in for some real life stories and surprises.”

She added: “Whether it’s voting nationally, or locally like in this year’s county council elections on May 4, it’s important to recognise the work of previous generations which has shaped the way we vote today.”

Local people and organisations have until October 31 to submit their nominations.

Full details, including the nomination forms are available online at www.suffrage-pioneers.net.