Today’s guest blog comes from my Cabinet lead for Women, Children and Young People, Helen Godwin.
This evening will see Park Street become a spectacle of purple and green as hundreds of Bristol’s women and girls, and we hope a significant number of men and boys, take to the street for the Suffragette Centenary Lantern Parade.
It is going to be a very special event, celebrating all of Bristol’s women and their achievements as well as acknowledging the contribution of Bristol’s suffragettes to the wider movement. Bristol was home to a number of influential women who played important roles in the fight for women’s suffrage. Women like Annie Kenny, Mary Sophia Allen and Theresa Garnett.
Of course, the successes of 1918 still left a significant number of younger and mainly working class women without the vote, and equality of suffrage was still ten years away.
It is a testament to the legacy of those great Bristolian suffragettes that we were named as one of just seven ‘Centenary Cities’, allowing us to work with others in the city to commemorate Bristol’s role in this great achievement on the path to gender equality with a brilliant programme of events throughout the year. The Lantern Parade will be the first in series of events under the banner of ‘Deeds, Not Words’ that will include exhibitions, awards, comedy and a celebration of women’s literature. I encourage you to look at the programme for the rest of the year to see what is planned.
Of course, equality at the ballot box has not ensured wider equality for women. It is hard to believe that 100 years on women are still fighting for equal pay and opportunity in work, equal representation in political institutions and to be free from sexual discrimination and of course, gender based violence.
For the reasons above I am honoured that the Mayor has asked me to add responsibility for women to my previous portfolio of children and young people. For all our young people to thrive we must see greater equality across the sexes, better focus on maternal mental health and wellbeing and an end to domestic violence and abuse. It is my intention and hope that 100 years on from the suffragette movement, our great city can work together to achieve these aims and true equality.