The Centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave voting rights to women and paved the way for Universal Suffrage will be commemorated with a series of events across Northern Ireland.
The Department for Communities (DFC) are hosting a number of events throughout the year commencing today with a special week long programme to coincide with the 100th year of the landmark act.
The programme will include a series of talks and workshops looking at the effect the Act has had on civic society and how it has helped to shape our system of democracy.
Explaining the importance of the Act, Bernie Rooney (DFC), Director of Social Inclusion Policy said: “Not only did the Act enfranchise women over the age of thirty who met the minimum property qualifications, it also abolished practically all previous property qualifications for men. As such, it’s an important milestone not just for women, but for men too.
“The Act also paved the way for holding general elections on one day and introduced the annual electoral register."
Further commemorative events throughout the year are taking place across Northern Ireland and indeed the whole of the UK to mark the centenary; to educate young people on its significance; and to build a legacy for the future by encouraging young women into political and public life.
An iBook educational resource has also been developed by the Public Records Office NI (PRONI) and will form part of a wider outreach programme that will extend throughout the year.
Notes to editors:
- Department for Communities, who has responsibility for gender equality policy, is co-ordinating a series of events to mark the centenary of the Act on behalf of the NI Civil Service
- A brochure containing information on all the events has also been produced and will be available from a range of publicly accessible venues including libraries, tourist information centres and museums
- During this week’s commemorations, events include an audience with Caroline Criado-Perez, a Brazilian-born British feminist activist and journalist whose efforts in part led to a decision by the Bank of England to have Jane Austen’s image secured on £10 bank notes. School children from Aquinas Grammar and Wellington College will also re-enact the journey to emancipation with mock elections and an number of female, locally elected representatives will discuss their personal journeys into politics
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