Events to mark centenary are ‘fitting tributes’ - Wales

Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.
Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.

A series of events to celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act will provide “fitting tributes to all those who fought for equality for all”.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has agreed to proceed with leading on and supporting a number of important events throughout 2018 to mark the milestone.

They include regional celebrations headed up by the Department for Communities and aimed at celebrating the centenary, educating young people on its significance and building a legacy for the future by encouraging young women into political and public life.

Among the events planned by council is a special presentation and workshops to mark International Women’s Day.

Former First Citizen of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, said it is vitally important current and future generations are educated on the importance of the Act and its implications for society as a whole.

She said: “The centenary of the Representation of the People Act marks a momentous landmark in our history.

“I am delighted that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and its partner agencies are supporting and leading on a number of excellent events over the coming months to mark this hugely significant change in voting rights.

“The Representation of the People Act gave women the vote for the first time and was the first major move in the journey towards delivering equality for all.”

Cllr. Wales added: “One hundred years on, we reflect on the bravery and vision of those who fought so hard to tackle issues including working and living conditions, rights in marriage, property ownership, and societal iniquities such as violence against women.

“They gave people a voice and rightfully placed them at the heart of the decision-making process when it came to political decisions that would impact on all their lives.

“We know there were still restrictions early on, such as the age limit on women and the need to own property, but this was a vital first step.

“The overhaul of the system at that time also gave all men over the age of 21 a vote and also those aged 19 who were serving their country during the First World War.

“The Representation of the People Act changed politics forever and we are so grateful to all those behind its creation and implementation.”