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British PM leads tributes on centenary of women winning right to vote

07 February 2018

The upshot of the act was that all property qualifications for men over 21 were abolished, and women over 30 were entitled to vote - provided they met minimum property qualifications or were married to a man who did.

The venue played host to 25 women's suffrage meetings, and was called a "Temple of Liberty" by campaignersPAEmmeline Pankhurst, suffragette leader and founder of the Women's Social and Political Union, addresses a crowd in Trafalgar Square in 1909PAA suffragette is arrested by police officers in 1914.

The Representation of the People Act was adopted in February 1918, eventually paving the way for universal women's suffrage in the country. In last year's election, women won a record 208 seats but were still outnumbered by men more than two to one in the 650-seat House of Commons.

"Some were severely mistreated and force-fed in prison post-conviction, so a pardon could mean something to their families", he added.

"There is also more to be done to raise awareness of the role played by Indian princess Sophia Duleep Singh in the Suffragette movement, and there are many suggestions of gay relationships within the movement that deserve wider exposure, but the history of those times - so often written by men - was coy at keeping official records of them".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC's Radio 4 program that authorities will "take a look at" cases of women jailed for civil disobedience during the campaign for equal rights.

In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed, giving women over the age of 30, and who owned a certain amount of property, the right to vote.

Yet the tides of the Suffrage movement are still surrounded in misinformation and confusion, with several leading members and activists in the movement identifying as lesbian, bi, or simply as women who were attracted to other women.

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As the Mayoress Christine Duckworth, raised the flag, she gave thanks to the suffragettes saying: "It is important to commemorate this occasion, so we can remember our past and the sacrifices that those ladies made".

"There would have been a general acceptance that women were intellectually inferior and emotional - and women would have believed that as well as men - so they didn't have the capacity to make political judgements", she says.

Today Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Good Morning Britain: 'They were perceived as criminals at the time, and it is hard to underestimate the awful violence that they suffered.

She was released three days later, but when she inspired other suffragettes to do the same, it led to the introduction of forcible feeding.

Since then, women around the world have channelled the suffragette spirit to campaign for progress. The number is considerably more now, over 60, so I think we've made great strides.

"Membership was possible for all women and from all social classes", which helped in building momentum, she said.

Some women - notably Emily Davison, who was trampled by King George V's horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby - died for their cause. It's quite complicated elements of law which can't be overstepped because we've changed our views on things.

British PM leads tributes on centenary of women winning right to vote