ALL CHANGE! Women and the 1945 General Election

Guest post by Oonagh Gay The general election of July 1945 was the first held for a decade. The Second World War had led to the suspension of elections. So the results were awaited with more than common interest. The contest was held on 5 July, (with some constituencies delaying until 12 and 19 July) but the polls were not counted and declared until 3 weeks later on 26 July. This was to allow those serving abroad in the armed forces to have their votes included. The landslide victory of the Labour Party was unexpected, and had a profound impact … Continue reading ALL CHANGE! Women and the 1945 General Election

‘Neither fair, nor desirable, nor wise’: the Representation of the People Bill

A century ago, on 19 June 1917, the House of Commons voted in favour of votes for women during committee stage of the Representation of the People Bill.   Guest post with timeline by Grace Bell  Countless pieces of legislation have passed through the Houses of Parliament since its existence making it easy to overlook numerous Acts – even those which greatly altered society. The Vote 100 Project is aiming to ensure our memory of significant legislation relating to votes for women are not forgotten. This blog post highlights research plotting the passage of the Representation of the People Bill, … Continue reading ‘Neither fair, nor desirable, nor wise’: the Representation of the People Bill

Out of ‘site’, out of mind? The Hidden Ladies of the Ventilator

Guest post by Amy Galvin-Elliott Historically, women have had a contentious relationship with the Houses of Parliament, and their access to and interaction with the spaces of Parliament provides an illuminating co-narrative to their journey towards enfranchisement. The Vote 100 project is a really exciting opportunity to recreate and try to imagine some of the spatial experiences of the women who, for example, observed Commons debates from the ventilator, were concealed behind the grille of the Ladies’ Cage, or who stormed Westminster Hall and St Stephen’s Hall to fight for their political rights. This post focuses on the early space … Continue reading Out of ‘site’, out of mind? The Hidden Ladies of the Ventilator

When meeting a new woman MP was no longer a rarity for us staff! Recollections of the impact of the May 1997 election

Guest post by Oonagh Gay On 1 May 1997 120 women MPs were elected; exactly double the number elected in 1992 and representing 18.2 per cent of all MPs, 71 of these MPs were new. For House of Commons Library staff, suddenly, it was no longer a rarity to meet a woman MP. Previously, it was possible to recognise each woman MP and name their constituency without much difficulty. Suddenly there was a host of younger, unfamiliar, female faces to process. 101 of those 120 women elected were Labour, reflecting the landslide majority achieved by their Party, and the positive … Continue reading When meeting a new woman MP was no longer a rarity for us staff! Recollections of the impact of the May 1997 election

Another record breaker! Margaret Beckett, longest-serving woman MP

On 24 March 2017, Dame Margaret Beckett MP became the longest serving female MP, serving for 38 years and 128 days, in two separate periods. Margaret Beckett (or Margaret Jackson, as she then was) was first elected as the MP for Lincoln at the general election held on 10 October 1974. She lost her seat at the following election (3 May 1979) but returned to the House of Commons on 9 June 1983 as MP for Derby South.  She has continued to represent Derby South since then. On 24 March 2017 she overtook Gwyneth Dunwoody as the female MP with longest total … Continue reading Another record breaker! Margaret Beckett, longest-serving woman MP

‘The lady Liberal agent’

‘The lady Liberal agent’: Bertha Fischer (1875-1920) and Ellen Pocock (1854-1943) Guest post by Kathryn Rix In July 1902 the ‘Ladies’ Column’ of the Dundee Evening Telegraph ran an article on ‘Novel professions for women’, featuring ‘The lady Liberal agent’, Bertha Bowness Fischer. She had recently passed the professional examination held by the Society of Certificated and Associated Liberal Agents (SCALA), becoming the first woman to qualify as a Fellow of that body. Given that women were excluded from the parliamentary franchise until 1918, and from the comparable profession of solicitor until after 1919, it is rather surprising to find … Continue reading ‘The lady Liberal agent’