We March, We Unite: 100 Years of The Vote

Travel back 100 years and women were not allowed to vote in the UK. It was not until 1918, that the Representation of the People Act was passed, which allowed some women over the age of 30 to vote in national elections, and later the same year the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act followed that allowed women to stand as Members of Parliament. Travel forward to 1928 and women finally won the same voting rights as men with the Equal Franchise Act. 

We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half.
— Emmeline Pankhurst

History lessons at school teach us about the battle of the suffragists and the more militant methods of the suffragettes, spearheaded by women such as the courageous Emmeline Pankhurst founding the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903 and spurring on a series of political interventions to help women win the right to vote.

We want to ask where do we stand now, 100 years on? 

Certainly, some countries have not been as quick to take up the vote. Look to Saudi Arabia, and they have only had the vote since 2015. However, 2018 is looking promising. Could this year be crowned the most empowering year of the women yet? Let's make it happen. 

With fuel from the #MeToo campaign's international presence, there's a rallying cry to speak out, to join together. January has been kicked off with the #TimesUp Campaign, gaining a huge amount of media attention at the Golden Globe Awards. Standing up in solidarity with women everywhere against abusive power, many celebrities marked the occasion by wearing black and channeling the campaign's clear message; if you've not seen Oprah Winfrey's breathtaking speech of the night... watch it now.

With a year anniversary for the Women's March and thousands of women joining together across the world to make the message clear a second year round, there's momentum; momentum that has to rallied. 

The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world. I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled the more I gain.
— Susan B. Anthony

Whether joining together in the digital sphere with a hashtag, through writing, through photography, through sharing Oprah's speech, or by physically marching together, creating boards, chanting and feeling that sense of momentum in the air, this sense of togetherness, with women and men united, is surely the key. People may be divided in their political opinions, we may be divided in our faiths, in our places in the world, but this sense of unity for women's rights, for human rights, crosses over all borders. Where we once had to fight for our right to vote, now we have to stand up and be heard, joining together 100 years on to be given the respect this vote warrants no matter what; the respect warranted for being a human being. 

Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all
— Hilary Clinton

You may have spotted a couple of extra voices in this piece aside from our own, and in light of the rallying cries from across the world, we've gathered up even more of our favourite empowering quotes from across the 100 years and in the lead up to that first female vote below. Let's be driven on by the fact that yes, #TimesUp, but also, the time is NOW to feel empowered and unite in whatever way we can.  

I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.
— Oprah Winfrey, acceptance speech at the Golden Globes
There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.
— Michelle Obama
In the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.”
— Lucretia Mott, Women's Rights Activist (1793 - 1880)
We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.
— Beyoncé
I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.
— Alice Paul, American suffragist, feminist, and women's rights activist (1885 - 1977)
I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.
— Madonna
Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
— G. D. Anderson
A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.
— Gloria Steinem

Words by Lottie Franklin