British women celebrate 100 years of right to vote

Thousands of women turned British cities into rivers of green, white and violet Sunday to mark 100 years since the first women won the right to vote in the U.K.

Part artwork, part parade, “Processions” saw women march through London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast wearing scarves in the colors of the suffragette movement that fought for the female franchise.

A woman dons a hat in suffragette colors. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The London march flowed in bands of color through the heart of the city, along Piccadilly and around Trafalgar Square before heading to Parliament, the seat of British political power.

In 1918, Parliament enacted the Representation of the People Act, which granted property-owning British women over 30 the right to vote. It would be another decade before women won the same voting rights as men.

Sunday’s celebration was organized by arts group Artichoke, which specializes in large-scale, participatory events. It asked 100 artists to work with women’s groups around the country on banners inspired by the bold designs of the suffragettes, who led a decades-long campaign of protest and civil disobedience to get votes for women.

The London march featured banners from Brownie packs and arts groups, an organization for female ex-prisoners and the Worshipful Company of Upholders, an upholsterers’ guild. Some participants dressed as Edwardian suffragettes or wore sashes in green, white or violet. One woman had made a pendant with the suffragette slogan “Deeds not words”. Another came with a banner evoking the modern-day women’s movement: “Nevertheless she persisted.”


Adriana Murolo

The Kootneeti Team - London Watch

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