The aim of the project is to identify and celebrate the lives of 100 previously hidden women and supportive men who were active in the campaign for votes, leading to the Representation of the People Act 1918, and who used the extended rights to citizenship in a positive way locally.
We want to include women and men from all walks of life and from all corners of the country. Those women and men who worked tirelessly in suffrage campaigns and also made use of enhanced opportunities, such as serving as elected councillors, magistrates, joining local committees or leading new local organisations.
There are two phases to the project (in 2017 and 2018 respectively):
Phase 1: Identification of the suffrage pioneers will last from March to December 2017 and invites submissions of nominations of local suffrage pioneers. This includes Step 1: the nomination. There is a form for completion online or for printing off and sending to us by post.
* Deadline for completed nomination forms is 31 October 2017
Phase 2: Development of local history and legacy projects will last from January to January 2019. This includes Step 2: the focus on the local pioneer and Step 3: the next generation (the legacy project).
Phase 2 of the project aims to engage local councils, communities, schools, voluntary organisations, Women’s Institutes, archives etc to work together to research and celebrate the lives of ordinary people who did extraordinary things to win the vote for women and who then went on to use their new political voice to improve things in their communities. Projects should involve the local community in finding out more about and then celebrating the lives of the suffrage pioneers concerned. We would like to see exhibitions, lectures, discussions, plays, concerts and displays in prominent places that bring all ages and communities together.
In Step 3, we want the process of identifying those suffrage pioneers from history to generate interest in the legacy of the project by developing local citizenship in the twenty-first century. We would like the next generation to be involved in every project. We will draw on local activities to focus on our national and local history around suffrage pioneers to link to our continuing efforts to recruit more women as councillors and see them in leading civic roles today.
BORN IN 2000
In order to help involve the next generation of voters, we would like each project to enlist at least one woman who was born in 2000, who will be voting for the first time in 2018 or 2019 and who are inspired by the local suffrage pioneer’s story. The first time voter(s) would adopt their local pioneer and help promote their life story.
After sharing the stories of those pioneers in 2018, we would like each local project to work with the next generation to encourage future citizenship, whether by encouraging them to vote, buddying new young local government candidates, supporting children who are on their school council or youth parliament and exploring other ways they could be involved in civic life and in community groups and voluntary organisations.
Part of the local legacy should also involve a local lasting commemoration of each of the nominated suffrage pioneers. This could be a tree planting, the creation of a rose garden, the installation of a named plaque on a suitable building or a named bench, or perhaps even a new statue, or a room, building or road named after her or him.
Phase 2 will also include a special national focus on 100 pioneers who will be selected for commemoration, out of which ten will be selected for a national celebration at the culmination of the project in October 2018.