28th Oct, 2020

Malvern marks 100 years of votes for women with Equalitea event

MORE THAN 60 people from across Malvern joined together to celebrate 100 years of votes for women with a special ‘EqualiTea’ event.

The national ‘tea party’, which was held on June 29, marked the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave all men over 21 the vote and some women over 30 who held £5 of property or had husbands who did.

It would be another ten years before women were given equal voting rights with men.

Held at Malvern St James Girls’ School and organised by Malvern Hills District Council, 40 Year Nine pupils from the school along with 25 residents and councillors gathered for an afternoon of tea, cake, talks and debate.

Coun Andrea Morgan, chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, attended the event along with West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin.

Coun Morgan said: “It was wonderful to see so many people attend our Equalitea event.

“No matter your age, gender or political background, it is important to remember and commemorate the people who campaigned tirelessly to secure equal voting rights.”

Prior to the day, students from Malvern St James worked together to develop their own political party, undertaking research into the suffragette movement and how women gained the vote in the UK.

They were asked to create their own manifesto, party political broadcast and speech for their party leader. The pupils also shared some of their research into the past, their ideas for the present and their visions for the future.

Guest speakers Dr Luke Devine, course leader for politics, and Alice Mason, sociology graduate at the University of Worcester, gave a talk on ‘Feminism, suffrage and ‘Equality’: From First-Wave to Contemporary Challenges’.

Visitors also enjoyed a small exhibition from Malvern Museum and The Hive on Malvern’s very own prominent suffragette Elsie Howey.

Mrs Baldwin said: “Wherever I go, I try to encourage young women to get more involved in politics and this was a great opportunity to inspire them by introducing them to local people who already stand for public office.

“It was good to see many young people engaged by current affairs and it is clear to me that issues like the environment, education and health are top of their list too.

“It would be great to think that one or more of the young women gathered in the room felt inspired to go on and speak up for their generation by standing for election either locally or nationally.”

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