Commemorating 100 suffrage pioneers

Women who successfully campaigned for the right to vote and changed our public and political landscape forever have been commemorated in a list of more than 100 pioneers unveiled in March 2018. Female councillors, magistrates and mayors are among those highlighted from across the country who made a lasting impact in their areas.

The Women's Local Government Society (WLGS) worked alonside the Local Government Association to help gather nominations and draw up the list, to celebrate the lives of many suffragists and other campaigners who were active in extension of the franchise and who went on to use their extrs rights in a positive way including standing for public office.

The names of the 100 pioneers were published on International Women’s Day. Among those named on the list is Lincolnshire’s Margaret Wintringham, who became the first British woman to take her seat in the House of Commons where she continued the campaign after 1918 to expand the vote to all women.

Others include Catharine Alderton, the first Lady mayor of Colchester and first female member of Essex County Council, who in 1913 led a ‘pilgrimage’ of suffrage supporters from all over Eastern England to a rally in Hyde Park. Reading’s Phoebe Cusden went on to make a significant mark in her town and beyond as a councillor and campaigner for nursery schooling, later leading on the development of town twinning when moved to help the children of Dusseldorf affected by Second World War bombing. Lifelong women’s rights campaigner Jessie Stephen became the first female president of the Trades Council and served as a borough councillor for Bermondsey in London and later as city councillor in Bristol.

Mother and daughter Sarah and Marjorie Lees from Oldham helped advance the suffrage movement, with the former part of the suffrage pilgrimage and who established the Council of Social Service, while Sarah was Mayor and Freeman of the Borough as well as being a dedicated activist. Alice Collinge, another nominee, was an early candidate for Bolton Town Council and chaired the local Women's Peace Crusade.


'Suffrage Pioneers' logo designed by Becki Rana who is studying for a Graphic Arts (BA) Hons at Buckinghamshire New University

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