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100 years on, 100% of women should be able to claim their vote, says Electoral Commission

Published: 5 Feb 2018

Ahead of celebrations to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, passed on 6 February 1918, giving some women the right to vote in the UK for the first time, the Electoral Commission has called for action to be taken to break down barriers to voting that still remain for some women.

Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said:

“The centenary of women’s suffrage reminds us all what our vote means and how hard women before us fought for it. However, there is still more to do because barriers to voting still remain.

“100 years on, it’s time to champion 100% of women being able to exercise their right freely without barriers. Voting is a right every women, no matter their circumstances, should have – in the next century we need to make this a reality.”

Celebrations to mark the centenary will be taking place across the UK this Tuesday, 6 February.

Our CEO, Claire, holding 'I vote' sign

Electoral Commission research has found:

  • Three quarters of women say they always vote at general elections.
  • 2 in 3 women were motivated to vote by civic responsibility at the 2017 Parliamentary general election.
  • Women were four times more likely than men to say that ‘people fought to win them the right to vote’ as a motivation for casting their ballot.

The Electoral Commission is calling on the UK’s governments and others to ensure that the registering and voting process is as accessible as it can be by:

  • Making the act of registering to vote as easy as possible
  • Making it easier to register to vote anonymously
  • Ensuring every women knows their vote is theirs alone
  • Providing accessible and consistent information at elections
  • Ensuring elections are accessible to everyone

By making changes that remove obstacles to voting, Claire Bassett added:

“Those with unforeseen caring responsibilities could be aided, women escaping domestic violence would benefit and we can enable 100% of women to exercise their right to vote and cast their ballot freely and with no undue influence.”

Claire Bassett also called on women to celebrate using their right to vote to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, saying:

“We need to continue to motivate young women to register to vote and understand the importance their vote has on deciding not only who governs this country, but also who makes important local decisions on their doorstep.”

Across social media women are posting pictures saying ‘I vote’ and using #Vote100 – claiming their right.

Get involved at @ElectoralCommUK or by visiting www.yourvotematters.co.uk/get-involved/centenary-of-womens-suffrage

Journalist