A 1910 suffragette chains herself to some railings. (C) Mary Evans Picture Library/The Women's Library

Network created for museums celebrating gender equality milestones in 2018

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 20.09.2016
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The Museums Association (MA) has created an informal network for museums with plans to commemorate the anniversaries of several gender equality milestones in 2018, including the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which saw voting rights granted to women for the first time. 

The 1918 act enfranchised women over 30 who met certain property ownership requirements, and extended the vote to almost all men over the age of 21. It laid the path for the introduction of universal suffrage ten years later, which saw women win equal voting rights to men.

2018 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the women’s strike at Ford Dagenham, which led to the eventual introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, and the 130th anniversary of the matchwomen’s strike, which saw women take collective action against hazardous working conditions and poor pay.

Due to the level of interest among museums in celebrating these anniversaries, the MA’s director Sharon Heal has decided to establish the network to enable institutions to come together and share knowledge, information and ideas.
A number of museums are planning events for 2018, including the East End Women’s Museum in London, which is in the planning stages and will open to coincide with the anniversaries in 2018, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, and St Fagan’s Museum of National History in Wales.

The Royal Holloway, University of London, plans to launch a three-year citizen’s project in January 2017 to work with museums, archives and historical societies to identify, map and curate local stories about the struggle for women’s suffrage.

To join the network, please email sharon@museumsassociation.org.


Director's blog: marking the moment of change