Centenary of women getting the vote

This summer and through to the autumn there is a very interesting exhibition in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament.

Entitled ‘Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament’, the exhibit celebrates the centenary of women getting the vote.

This major exhibition, which marks the Representation of the People Act (1918), features historic exhibits to tell the hidden “her-story” of the UK Parliament: the campaigning, the protests and the achievements.

This is one of the best exhibits I have seen here in Parliament and gives visitors a real flavour of what life was like for women in those days.

The exhibition shows where women had to hide to see the debates in Parliament and has rare and unseen historic objects as well as pictures from the Parliamentary archives and other museums around the country.

As well as the exhibits, visitors will get an idea about some areas of Parliament they may never have heard of before including The Cage and The Ventilator.

The ventilator is one of the most fascinating parts of this exhibit. This loft space above the House of Commons Chamber was where women watched and listened to Parliamentary debates 200 years ago because they were banned from the public galleries.

Melanie Unwin, the Co-Curator of the exhibition said they have tried to recreate the sounds and atmosphere of the uncomfortable spaces which women were confined to – to show the magnitude of what campaigners and early women MPs achieved despite the limitations placed on them.

I am so glad that Parliament has such an outstanding exhibition on show. It is right that we tell the story of how women fought to get the vote in what were very difficult circumstances.

One hundred years ago women got the vote and today there are 208 elected MPs, including our Prime Minister Theresa May. This exhibit tells a very important story from our history and I would urge everyone to try and see it over the coming months.

This exhibit runs until the beginning of October. If you would like to visit and, perhaps incorporate it with a tour of the Houses of Parliament, please contact my office for more details.