Marking 100 years of women's suffrage

Birmingham has long been a centre for the advancements of women's rights, with conferences being held at Town Hall regularly since 1838. Speakers such as Eliza Sturge (1842-1905), who was the Secretary of the Birmingham Society for Women's Suffrage and one of the UK's most active speakers, travelling all over the UK, spoke at Town Hall in 1877. It was during this time that the meeting assuring a unanimous vote by the town council in support of Jacob Bright's bill to remove the electoral disabilities of women, which was later presented to parliament, took place. 

In February 1909 Christabel Pankhurst led a meeting at Town Hall which Votes for Women reported:

received an ovation the like of which no woman has ever experienced in Birmingham

Votes for Women

An exhibition honouring 'female trailblazers'  has been unveiled at Birmingham City University, marking almost 100 years to the day since the Representation of the People's Act gave women the right to vote on 6th February 1918. 

The exhibition was created by students on Birmingham City University’s Design for Performance course, using 500 metres of corrugated card and 1,600 metres of brown paper, crafted to show key figures from the Suffragette movement in the lead up to 1918. Students were given three weeks to complete the exhibition, which will be on display at Birmingham City University's Parkside Building until 16 February.

The exhibition features famous faces such as Christabel Pankhurst -the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Flora Drummond, and Ethel Symth. It also features a horse drawn carriage and a Suffragette protesting by chaining herself to the rails of a government building. 

Eleanor Field, who lead the module, spoke about the power of protest, even today.

For centuries, it has been a given that, in moments of sharp civic discontent, you and I and everyone we know can take to the streets, demanding change...People, often against tremendous odds, answer a call to show up and be counted for what they believe in.

Eleanor Field

Birmingham Archives took to Twitter earlier today to further emphasise Birmingham's role one hundred years ago in what was a crucial milestone in women's history: