Wednesday 7 March 2018

100 years of the 4th Electoral Reform Act / International Women's Day 2018

100 years ago women were allowed to vote in UK elections legally for the first time. Only women over 30 with property worth at least £5 (or a husband with property worth £5) were allowed to vote, but it added over 8 million to the electoral roll (more than 5 million men aged over 21 were also allowed to vote for the first time).

Allowing another 13 million of the population to express their opinion was a giant leap and it was only another 10 years before voting rights were extended to the entire UK population over the age of 21. There are many flaws in our electoral system, but it's the best one we've got and the closest to democratic that will probably ever happen in our lifetime.

Women's Rights were fought and died for, and although I was born over 40 years later, we've come a long way. Manchester was the key location during the reformation of elections and the Suffragette movement, and there are masses of special events planned.

Here is a rundown of some of the things you can watch, talk about and get involved with in Manchester this week.

Manchester Museum Of Science And Industry

Contact Young Company celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918) with She Bangs the Drums. Based on research at the People’s History Museum and will take place in the Museum of Science and Industry’s characteristic 1830 Warehouse as part of the city’s Wonder Women 2018 festival.
She Bangs the Drums will explore voices and stories from Manchester’s rich and radical past as a centre of protest, from the Suffragettes to the Chartists.
She Bangs the Drums takes place at the Museum of Science of Industry, Thu 8 Mar – Sun 11 Mar, at 12pm, 2pm and 7pm (Thursday & Friday) and 2pm and 7pm (Saturday & Sunday). Tickets are on sale now priced £13/£7 concessions via or by phone on 0161 274 600. Please note this show is for over 14s only.

Manchester, Pankhurst Centre

The heritage centre has information about the Pankhursts and the Suffragette movement and is open to the general public on Thursdays from 10-4 and on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, 1-4pm.  Entry is free. For more information call on  0161 273 5673 or visit the website (Best to ring, the website is a touch out of date).

Manchester Wonder Women 2018 Festival

Not only She Bangs The Drums, but loads more is going on throughout Manchester’s feminist festival organised by The People's History Museum. There is a whole programme of exhibitions, performances, workshops and screenings at museums and galleries across Manchester. Find out more on the website.

Manchester People's History Museum

As organisers of the Wonder Women 2018 Festival, it's quite right that the People's History Museum should play host to some of the main attractions.
Tomorrow, 8th March 'Women, Know Your Place?' will see a live broadcast discussion in collaboration with BBC Radio Manchester and Talk - Getting Girls into STEM with a panel of speakers examining when and why girls lose interest in STEM subjects, how the next generation of girls can be encouraged to be the STEM leaders of tomorrow, and answer audience questions on the politics of gender within the sector.
On 10th March, The Drama Of The Suffrage will see a day of talks, films, performances, creative workshops and archival exploration.
11th March sees Girl Gang Manchester: Women Rule Mcr #2, A continually evolving durational interview and live performance project.
23rd March Generations of Activism is discussion, debate and banner making.
Find out more on the website

Manchester Museum, 12 March 2018

From Petticoats to Microscopes celebrates Manchester's incredible female thinkers, activists, scientists and artists over the years. We love female scientists here. Free entry, find out more on the website.

For a great rundown of some more International Women's Day events in Manchester, check out this guide from Manchester Evening News.

Keep in touch with Manchester International Women's Day on their Twitter

If you fancy a trip later in the year: 

London, Houses of Parliament

Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament runs from 27th June until 6th October. The Summer exhibition in Westminster Hall will showcase rarely seen archive material and reconstructed period settings, as well as telling the stories of some of the people who made it happen. Free to visit, see the website for more details.

(Contact Young Company - She Bangs The Drums - image by Benji Reid - Museum of Science & Industry. Used with permission). 

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