To mark 100 years of women’s suffrage and the birthday of Emmeline Pankhurst, Councillor Elaine Still, Hampshire County Council’s Chairman, laid a wreath in Queen Eleanor’s Garden at Winchester’s Great Hall today (15 July 2008).
Councillor Elaine Still said: “It is incredible to think of the progress in these past 100 years, from women winning the right to vote in 1918 to where we are today, with many women in influential positions across local and national government. None of this would have been possible without Emmeline Pankhurst and I am delighted to represent Hampshire County Council in remembering her today, 160 years from the day she was born.”
Councillor Still, wearing her chairman’s chain weaved with the purple, white and green colours of the women’s suffrage movement, was joined by Hampshire MPs - Maria Miller, Caroline Nokes and Mims Davies.
Maria Miller MP said: “Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. She shaped an idea of women of our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back. In this centenary year and on the day we remember Emmeline, Hampshire can be proud of six women MPs.”
In 1918, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act which allowed women over thirty who met a property qualification, and all men, to vote for the first time.
Hampshire County Council’s wreath laying today is part of a series of events happening all over the country to engage politicians and the public with the struggle for the vote.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “The right to vote is fundamental to our democratic system of government in this country, and it is fitting we honour Emmeline Pankhurst in this way today, for the role she played in making sure millions more people could have this right.”