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Newcastle leads the way in celebrating Women’s 100

One hundred years ago women first won the right to vote, albeit that only for a select few (women over thirty who owned homes). It was a milestone moment, even if it was another ten years before women secured full voting equality. The vote was won by the sheer resilience and determination of two groups - the suffragists and the suffragettes. The suffragists, men and women, campaigned and debated their case for equality, while the suffragettes (predominantly women), went a step further. Emmeline Pankhurst implored her supporters to use “deeds not words” to force change. In the face of being discredited, shamed and tortured, the suffragettes disrupted society and proved women were not submissive.Women's 100

A century later, a group of women, and a couple of men, met for an celebration event in Fenwick’s Tea Room to toast those campaigners with tea and scones. Fenwick’s was a favourite meeting place of the Newcastle-based suffragettes and among this 2018 gathering was Sally Young, Chief Executive of Newcastle Council for Voluntary Organisations (CVS), recently appointed Vice Chair of NCVO Board and alumna of Northumbria. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is the national charity that champions the voluntary sector and volunteering. They do this by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations nationally. Sally who has worked with, and for, charities for the past 30 years is particularly interested in the value of small charities and local community groups, the importance of infrastructure organisations and working to tackle inequality and poverty.

The event featured speeches from five prominent local women: Cllr Joyce McCarty (Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council); Lorraine Scott (WASPIs); Catherine McKinnell MP; Dame Vera Baird (Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner); and Michelle Percy (Assistant Director, Commercial Development, Newcastle City Council) and proved that a lot has changed since 1918 however there is still much to achieve.

Proudly, Newcastle has been among the most active cities in celebrating the achievements of 100 years ago with more information about events in Newcastle found here.

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