The vote and beyond: 100 years of votes for women

Celebrating the Courage and Resilience of the Women of Cambridge

The Cambridge Women's Organisations

At a number of the following events, donations will be collected for local women's organisations. These are Cambridge Rape Crisis, Cambridge Women's Aid, Cambridge Women's Resources Centre, and Turtle Dove Cambridge.

These organisations provide resources, skills, education, counselling, confidence and support for women at risk. They work across the whole of Cambridgeshire.

Any funds collected in cash at events will be equally distributed between these organisations to support their work with women across the county.  Otherwise please contribute directly to any of the organisations through their individual fundraising pages.

Watch a video preview of the #mycamvote project - a collection of photos taken of Cambridge women on 6 February. The photos are captioned, highlighting their compassion, strength and sisterhood as we keep fighting for equality for women worldwide.

Programme of events

Ongoing events

Past events

Women’s Suffrage and Political Activism: an International Conference to Commemorate the Centenary of the 1918 Reform Act

  • Saturday 3 February
  • 9am to 5pm
  • At Murray Edwards College, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DF
  • £35 full registration fee, £21 for students and unwaged (lunch included)

The keynote speakers are Jill Liddington, Sheila Rowbotham and Elizabeth Crawford.

The conference explores the relationship between suffragists, suffragettes, feminists, socialists, peace campaigners and the labour movement in the period leading up to the First World War, the partial enfranchisement of women in 1918, and the full enfranchisement of all women over 21 in 1928. It is organised by Murray Edwards College, the Anglia Ruskin University Labour History Department and the Cambridge University Library.

Transport will be provided from the college to Cambridge University Library for the wine reception and suffrage poster viewing 5.30 to 6.30pm, and the public lecture by Elizabeth Crawford 4.30 to 7.30pm.

A number of bursaries are available for this conference, including some for current Anglia Ruskin University students who should contact Lucy Bland or Mary Joannou before attempting to register.

For more information and booking, please visit the event page on the University of Cambridge website.

Key contacts:

Exhibition of Suffrage Posters

The Cambridge University welcomes visitors to its exhibition of rare suffrage posters which have never been put on public display. The exhibition has been curated to mark the centenary of women obtaining the vote on 3 February 2018.

The poster exhibition is housed on the exhibition area to your right as you enter the building and there will be a display of other suffrage items in the glass cases in the entrance hall.

No booking or admission ticket is required. The exhibition is open to the public during the usual opening hours of the Cambridge University Library which are 9.00am to 7.00 pm from Monday to Friday. The Library is closed on Sunday.

The exhibition is accessible for wheelchair users. 

Key contact:  

‘Pictures, Politics and the Art of Suffrage’: a Public Lecture by Elizabeth Crawford

THIS EVENT MIGHT BE OVERSUBSCRIBED

Elizabeth Crawford is an internationally acclaimed authority on the women’s suffrage movement. Her pioneering work 'The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866 -1928 (2000)' is sometimes referred to as the ‘Bible’ for archivists and researchers.

Her blog and website has introduced hundreds to suffragettes and suffragists for the first time. This lecture focuses on the poster exhibition in the Cambridge University Library, and forms part of the conference on Suffrage and Political Activism held at Murray Edwards College on 3 February.

It is open to members of the public who have not attended that conference.

No booking is required. Please enter the Cambridge University Library at the main doors and proceed to the exhibition area which is to your left.

Elizabeth Crawford’s lecture is accessible for wheelchair users. 

Key contact:  

Women’s Suffrage Walk around Cambridge

      • Sunday 4 February
      • Starting at 11.30am and finishing at 1pm
      • Maximum 20 participants on a ‘first come first served’ basis. 
      • Free (but a collection for a Cambridge women's charity will be made)
      • Priority will be given to those who attend the Suffrage and Political Activism Conference, and registration for the walk should be made at the same time as registration for the conference. 

This walk, around places in Cambridge associated with the campaign for the vote, will be led by Dr Deborah Thom and will be assembling at Brookside, Cambridge.  

Further details will be circulated by email to all participants in the walk.

Please ensure you bring warm clothes, and let the organiser know in advance if you have any special needs. If all 20 places are not taken by conference delegates any spare places will be advertised on this website.

Deborah Thom’s conducted walks have been very popular in the past and we hope that it may be possible to repeat the walk later in the year. 

Key contact:

Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is Possible - A Film

      • Sunday 4 February
      • Doors open 2pm, film starts 2.10pm, event ends 4pm
      • Ross Street Community Centre, 75 Ross Street, Cambridge, CB1 3UZ
      • Free (donations towards the room booking are welcome)
      • Book by emailing theheretic.club@gmail.com giving your full name by Friday 26 January (only 13 seats available, first come, first served)

Sylvia’s internationalism, bravery and tireless humanism will uplift men, women, young and old. This is an inspiring film about a woman who fought for universal suffrage and wanted an end to WW1. 

The film includes exclusive testimony from Sylvia’s son, Richard Pankhurst, as well as writers, academics and activists. Filmed in various locations by volunteers and researched by them in the parliamentary archives, the Women’s Library and throughout East London to make this impressive one and a half hour film. After 4pm we’ll go to a local pub (venue tbc) for a social.

Key contact:

Music, readings, poetry, and a short address on the significance of women’s struggle for the vote

      • Sunday 4 February  
      • 6pm to 7.30 pm
      • At The Fellows Drawing Room, Murray Edwards College, Huntingdon Road.
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited)

      • No booking required

Music is likely to include Lili Boulanger ‘Hymn au Soleil’ and Ethel Smyth ‘March of the Women’ and songs by Miriam Makeba, Joan Baez and Maria Farantouri.  This is one of a weekly series of secular, contemplative Humanist Happenings held at the college to which all are welcome. The invited speaker is Mary Joannou.

Murray Edwards College is one of three colleges for women at Cambridge University and holds the largest collection of works by women artists outside the United States. You may wish to arrive early look at the artworks which are on permanent display throughout the college.

Key Contact:

#mycamvote - A snapshot of The Women of Cambridge. 

A 24 hour snapshot of the women of today photographing themselves and other women on 6 February 2018, as a record for the women of tomorrow.

      • From midnight on Tuesday 6 February 2018 for 24 hours
      • Free

Women of Cambridge - young and old, rich and poor - will photograph ourselves and the women we love.

This photographic exhibition will capture the diversity, the creativity, the joy and the sadness of being a woman in Cambridge.  We will take photographs and invite women to send in selfies and old style photographs, to create a permanent record for posterity. 

Key contact:

For more information, please go to the Cam Vote 100 Facebook page.

A Civic Event to celebrate ‘The Vote and Beyond…’

The Guildhall will be open to the public on Tuesday 6 February from 10.30am to 9pm for a variety of free activities. 

10.30am to 6.45 pm

      • A photo-booth to capture photographs of Cambridge women 100 years on. This is part of the ‘#camvote100' project.
      • Other activities include: a digital exhibition of women at work in the years leading up to 1918, a short film - Rise Up Women' on the suffrage campaigns, a chance to play an Edwardian board game, banner-making, plus listen to 'suffragettes on their soap boxes' in the Market Square throughout. the day.
      • Women are invited to drop in for tea/coffee any time between 10.30am and 5pm. 
      • UNISON will be running a mini ‘taster’ workshop looking at women’s campaigning achievements over the last century, at lunchtime - 12.45 - 1.15 pm.
      • Open to all, no booking required.

3 – 6pm

      • Activities for sixth form students in the Council Chamber. Invitation only.

7 to 9pm

      • The unveiling of a plaque to Millicent Garrett Fawcett by former Cambridge MP Anne Campbell. There will be a short talk on Millicent Garret Fawcett's life and work by Dr. Gillian Sutherland, Fellow Emerita at Newnham College.  
      • A dramatic re-reenactment of Mrs Pankhurst's speech made at the Cambridge Guildhall over 100 years ago.
      • Performance by the long-established Cambridge Women's Choir, 'Women of Note'
      • Please book via Eventbrite for this evening event
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited)
      • For additional information, contact Ari Henry, Ariadne.henry@cambridge.gov.uk or go to the Cam Vote 100 Facebook page

Screening of 'Suffragette' introduced by Dedorah Thom with panel discussion chaired by Dr. Alison Ainley

      • Monday 12 February
      • 6.30pm introduction, 6.45pm screening, followed by a panel discussion at approximately 8.30pm which will end at approximately 9.15pm
      • At The Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited)

'Suffragette' (2015), (directed by Sarah Gavron with a cameo appearance by Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst) tells the story of fictional character, Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), an East End laundry worker.

While many viewers found the film deeply moving, it has received a mixed critical response from critics and historians. The screening starts with a short introduction by Dr Deborah Thom and will be followed by a panel discussion and questions from the floor.

The panellists are Professor Lucy Bland, Dr Tanya Horeck, Profesor Mary Joannou and Dr Deborah Thom.   

Please check the Anglia Ruskin University website for details about booking or the Cam Vote 100 Facebook page.

Key Contacts:

'Better is Wisdom than Weapons of War’: An illustrated Talk on the Women’s Suffrage Campaigns in Cambridge and the Surrounding Areas by Sue Slack.

      • Tuesday 13 February 
      • 1pm to 2pm
      • LAB 003, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited) 
      • Please bring your lunch with you if you wish

Anglia Ruskin University alumna Sue Slack spent much of her working life in the local history archives held in the Cambridgeshire Collection at the Cambridge Central library. She researched the campaigns for women's suffrage in Cambridge and beyond. Sue will be to sharing her fascinating photograph album with us. .

Teas and coffees can be purchased in the restaurant signposted as you enter the building from the East Road entrance, or in the coffee area on the first floor of the Helmore Building.   

Please check the Anglia Ruskin University website for details about booking or the Cam Vote 100 Facebook page.

Or contact mary.joannou@anglia.ac.uk

An evening with Dr Helen Pankhurst

      • 15 February 2018
      • 6 to 7pm
      • Wood-Legh Room in Strathaird, Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge, CB3 0BU
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations  are invited)
      • Booking required, please visit the event webpage for information and booking

An interactive session about the changes to women’s lives since 1918, based on Dr Helen Pankhurst's new book.

Key contact:

Asian Suffragettes – Two Women Who Made a Difference, an Illustrated Presentation by Shahida Rahman

      • Tuesday 20 February
      • 6 to 7pm
      • LAB 027, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT (please enter by the main Helmore entrance in East Road and follow signs to the Library. LAB 027 is on the ground floor on your left)
      • There is wheelchair access 
      • Free (but  donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited)
      • Book via Eventbrite

Shahida Rahman’s talk will introduce us to the lives of these remarkably courageous women and the reasons why they were drawn to the ‘cause’. Shahida will discuss a little known aspect of the women’s suffrage movement; the way it was enriched through the participation of women from all over the world.

Sophia Duleep Singh was born in Elveden Hall in Norfolk, the daughter of an exiled Maharaja. She joined the militant suffragettes of the WSPU and the Women’s Tax Resistance League. The motto of the League was ‘No Tax, No Vote. Bhikaji Cama was a socialist, a suffragette, and a prominent member of the Indian Independence movement. 

Contact: Mary Joannou, Anglia Ruskin University - mary.joannou@anglia.ac.uk

The Library presents... No Petticoats Here

      • Friday 23 February
      • 7 to 9pm (including interval)
      • March Library, City Road, PE15 9LT
      • £7 (standard) £4 (concessions)
      • Booking via Cambridge Live Trust or buy tickets from the March Library

A performance telling the stories of inspirational women who lived during the First World War. This one woman show weaves a recorded soundscape around live, original songs and storytelling. From the woman who dressed as a soldier to football players banned by the FA, ambulance drivers running the gauntlet of enemy fire and the so-called ‘surplus million’.

Louise Jordan, critically acclaimed musician and singer, brings to life these extraordinary women who challenged expectations using letters, research and diaries.

Key contact:

Celebrating Millicent Garrett Fawcett and the Campaign for Women’s Suffrage at Newnham College

      • Friday 23 February
      • 2.15 to 4pm
      • At Newnham College, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DF, UK (please assemble at the porters’ lodge)
      • Free (but donations for the Cambridge women's organisations are invited)
      • Book via Eventbrite (maximum number 30, then waiting list)

Newnham College, Cambridge, was founded in 1871 by a group which included Millicent Garrett Fawcett. The college celebrates its architecture, its beautiful gardens, and its long tradition of educating strong, independent and resourceful women.

400 women students from Newnham and Girton Colleges marched in a parade organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in London in 1908 behind a banner emblazoned ‘Better is wisdom than weapons of war’. The visit will include a display of the banner, a talk about Millicent Garrett Fawcett and the opportunity to see a linked exhibition of books and photographs.

Contact: Rebecca Quigg, Events Officer - rebecca.quigg@newn.cam.ac.uk or call 01223 335762

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre 

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre will be celebrating and marking the 100 Years of Women's Vote and 35 years of Rape Crisis support to women and girls in Cambridgeshire with events in 2018.

Please see the Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre website for details of events when they are released.

UNISON - events looking at women's campaigning achievements

UNISON are running a mini  ‘taster’ workshop on 6 February looking at women’s campaigning achievements.

A workshop for women members will follow the above that looks at  women’s achievements over the last 100 years and discusses our future challenges. Join them for ‘Forward, still further to go’  - contact Liz Brennan on 01223 457047.

More details will follow on this page, the UNISON Facebook page and their Twitter account.

The Banner Project

For hundreds of years, organisations that have a marching tradition have made banners in order to identify themselves.

This includes trade unions, friendly societies, temperance groups, co-operative societies, Orange orders, peace organisations and political parties, but also non-political organisations like churches, chapels and Sunday schools; and of course suffrage and women's organisations.

As part of this tradition of making and marching with banners there is going the be a banner making project in Cambridge throughout 2018.

For more information please keep checking this webpage, and the Cam Vote 100 Facebook page

Millicent Fawcett and the Non-violent Campaign for Women's Suffrage

      • Thursday 10 May
      • 8pm
      • At Trumpington Village Hall

In the centenary year of Votes for Women, Dr Gill Sutherland from Newnham College will be talking about the influence of Millicent Fawcett and the non-violent campaign for women's suffrage.

The Fawcett name has a strong resonance in Trumpington, with Millicent and Henry Fawcett living nearby at 18 Brookside into the 1880s, Henry Fawcett being buried in the local churchyard, and the oldest of the current local primary schools being named Fawcett Primary School.

A bronze sculpture of Millicent Fawcett is to be erected in Parliament Square early next year.

For more information, please visit the Trumpington Local History Group website.

Key contact:

Faith and Hope: An illustrated talk on the women’s suffrage campaigns

      • Friday 23 March, 10 to 11am at St Mark’s Church and Community Centre (Barton Road, Cambridge CB3 9LZ)

This talk by Mary Joannou will begin with a general introduction to the women’s suffrage movement, with some reference to Millicent Garrett Fawcett, the co-founder of Newnham College. It will address the role played by religious belief in sustaining suffragists and suffragettes in their struggle for the vote.

Everybody is welcome – booking is not necessary, but there is a £3 charge per person to attend. The talk will be will be followed by tea and coffee.

Contact Carolyn Fergusson at cmfergusson77@btinternet.com if you have any questions about the talk.

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