Bristol Women’s Voice is organising a series of exciting events commemorating 100 years since the first votes for women after successfully bidding for funds from the Government Equalities Office ‘Centenary Cities: 100 years of votes for women’ fund. The bid was spearheaded by Bristol Women’s Voice in partnership with Bristol City Council and with the support of partners across the city.

In the early 20th Century, Bristol had the highest level of suffrage activity outside of London and the aim of this new programme is to learn from our shared history and to inspire future generations.

Deeds Not Words launched with a Lantern Parade down Park Street on February 6th 2018 to mark the day, 100 years ago, when women over 30 who owned property were given the right to vote. Thousands of Bristolians turned out to celebrate with lanterns made at workshops across the city, led by two giant suffragette puppets. The Wills tower and The Victoria Rooms were illuminated in suffragette colours. The march gathered at College Green and a  choir of 100 girls sand ‘The March of the Women’ by Dame Ethel Smyth and ‘We Rise’ a new song composed by Dionne Draper for BWV (available to buy here)

BWV’s International Women’s Day event in 2018 was held at City Hall on the 3rd of March, with an exciting and packed programme including music, interactive theatre, hot topic debates and much more. Read more about IWD here.

M Shed will host ‘Votes For Women‘, an exciting programme of events, on the 30th of June. Schools will run conferences for girls with positive role models throughout the year. On the 19th of June a collaboration between BWV and Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Explore Engineering, will give girls an opportunity to attend a hands-on science event to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day. Later in the year a citywide digital game will take place; Upfest will commission female graffiti artists to celebrate women past, present and future; suffragettes will be out in Bristol during Democracy week explaining what these women did for us and why it is still so important to vote. Program partners will join centenary celebrations throughout 2018 with other activities; for the full listings go to our events page.

Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice and Bristol Women’s Commission said: “We are thrilled  to be working with so many organisations in the city to make sure we learn from our past and continue to strive for women’s equality now and in the future.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol has a strong history of activism to support the rights of many communities and groups, few more so than the campaign for women’s suffrage. As a city we can be proud of the part played by those Bristol activists who fought the fight when equality seemed a distant ambition and those who continue to educate and campaign on women’s rights. I am grateful for the continued advice and activity of Bristol Women’s Voice and others who are working towards next year’s centenary celebrations.”

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