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Jeremy Corbyn joins calls for suffragettes to be pardoned

06 February 2018

Wanita Umno has contributed significantly to the electoral success of successive prime ministers.

This is the history I learned at school - and it is bunk.

She said the suffragettes "deliberately broke the law to make a point" - for example, by demanding "no taxation without representation".

There was a shift for the better in 1918 with the implementation of the Representation of the People Act, yet this still did not put women on an equal footing as men.

In the final stages of last year's election, Women's Equality Party candidates and workers ignored threats of violence to keep campaigning. Only those who were above 30 years and home owners were eligible to vote.

It can be hard to find the role models that we need and deserve in the limited stories of history. However, for most of the 20th century, women faced pregnancy discrimination and no matter how many people agreed women should be able to work and raise kids, the financial reality was (and still is) very different.

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You will know who they are - ordinary women from all walks of life doing extraordinary things.

"Women in the 19th century had to contend with open hostility and abuse to win their right to vote", said May, Britain's second female prime minister.

When Morgan asked her about the campaign calling for suffragettes to have their convictions overturned, the Home Secretary replied: "I think that's a more tricky one, if I may say".

Much progress has been made since then but today, 100 years on, there's still a way to go - in politics, employment and everyday life for women.

Campaigners were mainly suffragettes (the Women's Social and Political Union led by militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurs, her daughter Christabel and Emily Davison who was killed during a horse race whilst carrying a votes for women banner into the racetrack). It was left to Viscountess Nancy Astor to be the first woman to take her seat in parliament in December 1919 following a by-election victory.

Addressing MPs, Corbyn revealed that "Labour in government will both pardon the suffragettes and give an official apology for the miscarriages of justice and wider persecution they suffered".

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Nonetheless, the reform was momentous and a step in the right direction.

In 1866, a women's suffrage committee was formed in London, which soon sparked other groups being set up in other areas, such as the Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage.

The Women's Equality Network is marking the centenary by celebrating 100 Welsh women.

"We're talking about a period where a significant number of women had taken over men's roles in the workplace after they had gone off to fight, and we're talking about a period where women for the first time had been involved with the armed forces, which was a great leap forward".

"We're now taking action on ten times the number of accounts every day compared to the same time a year ago and using new technology to limit account functionality or place suspensions on thousands more abusive accounts", the statement added.

She noted the gender pay cap, the continued prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment, and the fact that women still made up only a minority of parliamentarians.

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Those actions have stoked a debate lately over whether the women should be considered "terrorists".

Jeremy Corbyn joins calls for suffragettes to be pardoned