100 Pioneer Women inspiring through the ages

People from across the UK converged on Leeds Civic Hall on 24 November to celebrate local activities built around the 100 Suffrage Pioneers project. They came from Abergavenny, Bangor, Derbyshire, Doncaster, Oldham, Stevenage, Warrington and more.

Inspirational stories of the campaigning zeal of the Pioneers and imaginative local projects involving arts organisations, councils, museums, schools, youth councils and a range of other societies emerged during the roll call of the 100 names. It was also announced that Oldham Council has appointed Councillor Hannah Roberts to be its Suffrage Champion;that Stevenage Museum involved the Youth Council in its suffrage project; that members of Colchester Civic Society went door-to-door to tell people living in Alderton Road about Catherine Alderton, the first female Mayor of the town and the person after whom their street is named.

Other local activities that were announced include a contemporary maternity services vanguard project being pursued within Liverpool’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan with a national concordat being rolled out across the country based on this model. The maternity service builds on the work of Suffrage Pioneer, Margaret Beavon who campaigned tirelessly for maternity services and child welfare in the city. This project clearly demonstrates how the legacy of the Suffrage Pioneers is inspiring a new generation of campaigners and civic activists and provoking the continuing improvement of many essential services today. It also demonstrates that not only were the Pioneers committed to universal suffrage, they were also active in society in many other ways, for example, as JPs, councillors, members of boards of guardians, philanthropists, peace campaigners, theatre impresarios and so much more. 

Photo at top of story shows Cllr Julie Heselwood, Lead Member for Women, Leeds City Council addressing the audience at the celebration. Cllr Marianne Overton, Vice-Chair, LGA and WLGS sits at the top table with Anne Baldwin (right), secretary, WLGS.


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

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