To mark 100 years since women gained the right to vote Havant MP Alan Mak has hosted a tea party for students at Crookhorn College. The EqualiTeas event gave pupils the opportunity to share, debate, and celebrate what equality means to them over a cup of tea. Similar events are taking place across the country.
This year marks 100 years since The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. Ten years later The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, gave all women over 21 the right to vote.
As part of programme of events from UK Parliament to mark these important milestones for democracy, EqualiTeas events are taking place around the country.
Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism. It was one of the few ways women could meet without men to discuss and plan. The leading suffrage organisations used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money.
Alan said: “The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a vital step towards the rights women and men have today, and these anniversaries are an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come.
“We all know that there is still more to do when it comes to equality in Britain, and EqualiTeas has been an excellent opportunity to share our ideas for an even more equal society, as well as hear from students at Crookhorn about what democracy means to them.
“I look forward to working with people across Havant to ensure we create an even more equal society.”
Parliament’s Vote 100 programme includes a wide range of events and activities commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality. There will be a major exhibition in Parliament – “Voice and Vote” running from between 27 June and 6 October 2018 – as well as an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament, and a number of UK-wide events, such as UK Parliament Week 2018.
Vicci Masson, Head of History at Crookhorn College, said: “The EqualiTeas event was a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage with issues of e democracy and quality. Students investigated extensions to the franchise including the 1832 Great reform act alongside the Representation of the People Act. However Students were most enthused when debating the concept of allowing 16 year olds to vote. We were very excited to hear Mr Mak's views on democracy and look forward to welcoming him back to Crookhorn college soon.”