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Leader celebrates 100 years of votes for women

Published: 6th Feb 2018

THE Leader of the Council celebrated the achievements of women on the 100th anniversary of female suffrage at a Cabinet meeting.

She made her statement to Cabinet at Redcar and Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart earlier today.

She said: "It is 100 years to the day since true heroines of our nation finally won the right for women to vote.

"There were no celebrations then as the First World War raged, but women from our borough fought for that victory Emmeline Pankhurst herself rallied people on Redcar beach in 1909 - and we should take a moment to celebrate it now.

"Much has been achieved since the Representation of the People Act was passed in 1918: men and women now have entirely equal voting rights (which was not the case in 1918), we have had two women Prime Ministers and more women MPs, maternity leave rights, equal pay legislation, stronger domestic violence laws and we have very many more successful women in our society. But there is much more to be done. You only have to look at the controversy around equal pay raging currently to see that.

"Here in Redcar and Cleveland we have a hugely important women from the past including our Saxon Princess and Gertrude Bell. We have woman in our key public positions our Mayor Karen King, our Chief Executive Amanda Skelton, our MP Anna Turley and myself at Leader. And of course, we had one of the most high profile women politicians in the modern era in Mo Mowlam who took that hugely brave step to go into the Maze Prison, so paving the way for the Good Friday Agreement. Also Vera Baird, now Police and Crime Commissioner in Northumberland who has done so much to highlight the issues around how we respond to domestic and sexual violence against women.

"I meet impressive, successful women from our borough and the Tees Valley all the time, not least at our Inspiring Women Awards which celebrates women's contribution to Redcar and Cleveland. You just have to look at the list of those who have been recognised to see the difference they make.

"And yet progress has been slow. We have much more to do to raise the aspirations of our young women, to secure access to good quality employment, childcare, and in later life after all it is women who live the longest and we need to raise women out of poverty at all stages of their lives. We know that austerity has hit women hardest and that the services they rely on have been broken by cuts. That's why I am a member of this council and why despite the challenges we must continue the work led by those early campaigners - the suffragettes and the suffragists - to change attitudes, shape policy and deliver services that will give our women the opportunities to which they are entitled."

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