Cambridge events mark 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote

News release from 1 February 2018, 1:40pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council is supporting a series of events being held in Cambridge to commemorate 100 years since some women were first able to vote in UK national elections.

On Tuesday 6 February, there will be a day of free activities centred around the Guildhall from 10.30am-9pm, which will see a blue plaque unveiled to Millicent Garrett Fawcett, a leader of the movement for women’s suffrage and a founder of Newnham College, Cambridge. Other activities on the day include:

  • A dramatic re-enactment of a speech by suffragette Mrs Pankhurst made at Cambridge Guildhall more than 100 years ago;
  • A photo booth to capture photographs of Cambridge women 100 years on from gaining the vote, part of a project called #mycamvote;
  • A digital exhibition of women at work in the years before 1918;
  • Regular screenings of a film called ‘Rise Up Women’;
  • Actors playing the part of suffragettes in the Market Square;
  • A performance by Cambridge choir Women Of Note;
  • The official launch of the ‘Banners Project’ for local groups creating traditional banners commemorating the anniversary, to be exhibited later this year;
  • Free tea and coffee for people attending on the day.

Other events taking place in Cambridge during the coming weeks to mark the 100th anniversary of women gaining the vote include:

  • An international conference on women’s suffrage and political activism at Murray Edwards College – Saturday 3 February, 9am-5pm;
  • An exhibition of rare, never previously displayed suffrage posters at Cambridge University Library – From Saturday 3 February for approximately six weeks;
  • A women’s suffrage walk around Cambridge – Sunday 4 February, 11.30am-1pm;
  • Screening of the film ‘Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is Possible’ at Ross Street Community Centre – Sunday 4 February from 2pm;
  • Screening of the 2015 film ‘Suffragette’ at the Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University – Monday 12 February, 6.30pm;
  • An evening with author Dr Helen Pankhurst about changes to women’s lives since 1918, Lucy Cavendish College – Thursday 15 February, 6pm;
  • Asian Suffragettes – Two Women Who Made a Difference; a presentation by Shahida Rahman at Anglia Ruskin University – Tuesday 20 February, 6pm.

For full details of these and other events visit

1918 also saw the widening of the voting to franchise to include larger numbers of men for the first time.

At many of the events, donations will be collected for local women’s organisations Cambridge Rape Crisis, Cambridge Women’s Aid, Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre and Turtle Dove Cambridge.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, who is leading the council’s activities to mark the anniversary said: “1918 was a major milestone in the fight for votes for women and I am delighted that the city council is supporting the local celebrations. I am particularly excited that Cambridge will be publicly honouring Millicent Garrett Fawcett with a blue plaque.

“Many Cambridge women were at the forefront of campaigning for the right to vote, and we want everyone to join in with the exciting events that are planned to mark their groundbreaking work and honour the sacrifices they made, not only up to 1918 but also in the years afterwards.

“We recognise that 1918 was not the end of the struggle for fair votes. My own female relatives could not vote until 1928 because they did not meet the property criteria. That’s why I’m so glad that we are celebrating the complete campaign for women’s suffrage, and not only the gains made in 1918.

“I am also delighted that we are supporting so many worthy charities as part of our celebrations, acknowledging, as did Millicent Garrett Fawcett, that a campaign for political equality is not enough – social justice matters too.”