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29th January 2018

Suffrage Centenary celebrations kick off

The Centenary Launch Party and Wonder women — ways you can celebrate the ‘year of the woman’
Suffrage Centenary celebrations kick off
Wonder Woman: Contact Young Company – She Bangs The Drums – image by Benji Reid – Museum of Science & Industry

Organised by Girl Gang Manchester and The Pankhurst organisation, the Centenary Launch Party began celebrations of 100 years since some women won the right to vote in Britain.

The night included an unveiling of a new bust of Emmeline Pankhurst by Jane Robbins, speeches, live music, and a fashion show.

The house of the well-known suffragette was full of women of all ages and backgrounds. Girl Gang Manchester told The Mancunion that their organisation aims to give all women safe, creative spaces, where they have the opportunity to “meet like-minded people,” and “establish creative partnerships.”

When asked what Universities could do to help make female students feel safe and supported, a representative of Girl Gang said that Universities should take some responsibility for the nightlife culture, wherein many circumstances it is “normal to get groped.”

But Universities should not be the only ones held responsible. “It needs to be taught in schools… that this is not the right way to act.” “It’s not right or fair.”

Julie Hesmondhalgh began the speeches, talking of the work we have to do in 2018, the “year of the woman.”

She said; “This should be a place for remembering and honouring the past but can also be a place of resistance, of refuge, of radicalism, of raging against the patriarchy. A place where women of all backgrounds can work together for lasting equality.”

The Centenary Launch Party is followed by the Wonder Woman festival, a series of events taking place across Manchester celebrating the Centenary and International Women’s day. Led by the People’s History Museum (PHM), “the festival explores Manchester’s legacy as the birthplace of the suffragette movement from a contemporary perspective.”

Helen Antrobus, 2018 Programme & Events Officer at the People’s History Museum, says, “Wonder Women 2018 is a festival that will create a space and environment in which to reflect upon and be inspired by the achievements, endeavours, strength, spirit and creativity of the women who fought for the vote and those for whom the quest for equality continues. The Representation of the People Act in 1918 was a catalyst moment in the fight for equality, but this is an ongoing story with much still to be resolved. We need to use the centenary as a way of turning up the volume on these issues.”

Among’s top picks are:

Lost Voices exhibition and launch event

“Lost Voices (opening 3 March) will recapture the voices of the women during the ten year period from 1918, when legislation was passed giving some women the vote (over the age of 30 and who met certain property qualifications), to 1928 when all women were given equal voting rights.”

Contact Young Company: She Bangs The Drums at the Museum of Science and Industry

Opening March the 8th, She Bangs The Drums is a provocative piece of contemporary theatre which looks back at one of the key landmarks in British democracy.”

The Women in Media Conference

From Saturday the 3rd to Sunday the 4th March, the People’s History Museum will be hosting a ground-breaking student conference celebrating women in media and hearing their stories.

Click here for more information on Wonder Woman events.

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