To mark 90 years since men and women over 21 gained the right to vote, local MP Jo Swinson is inviting everyone in East Dunbartonshire to sign-up to EqualiTeas to share, debate, and celebrate what equality means to them over a cup of tea. Jo celebrated the anniversary seated alongside fellow Liberal Democrat women MPs Christine Jardine, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse.
2018 marks 100 years since The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. Ten years later, The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 gave all men and women over 21 the right to vote. These acts followed years of campaigning, with the first petition to Parliament asking for votes for women was presented to the House of Commons on 3 August 1832.
As part of programme of events from UK Parliament to mark these important milestones for democracy, EqualiTeas takes place between 18 June and 2 July.
Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism. It was one of the few ways women could meet without men to discuss and plan. The leading suffrage organisations used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money. But, events do not have to be a tea party, just an event or activity that brings people together to discuss equality, and anyone can hold an EqualiTeas tea party, whether it is big or small, private or public, inside or out.
Commenting, Jo said:
“EqualiTeas is all about bringing people together, and I was delighted to be joined in celebrating this anniversary by Christine, Layla and Wera.
“The Representation of the People Act 1928 was a vital step towards the rights women and men have today, and these anniversaries are an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come. We all know that there is still more to do when it comes to equality, and my book Equal Power sets out things that we can all do to make this goal a reality.
“EqualiTeas is an excellent opportunity to reach out to others in our community and share our ideas for an even more equal society, while celebrating the strides we have already made.
“I encourage everyone in East Dunbartonshire to sit down with a cuppa over the new few weeks and talk about what equality means for them."