ONE hundred years ago this month, The Representation of the People Act 1918 passed into law, extending the right to vote to some women for the first time, writes Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach in her latest Guardian column. 

There is no doubt that this was a vital step towards securing the rights women have today. The centenary of the Act is an opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come and to give thanks for the bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought and in some cases, died for equality.

In Cheshire, there were women who went from town to town campaigning to secure the right to vote, they lobbied their MP to change the law, just as people do today. Individuals such as Mary Katherine Trott, who was Literary Secretary of the Women’s Freedom League in Cheshire and also an active member of the Qui Vive Corps. Despite all her campaigning, she was denied the right to vote in 1918 because, aged 29, she was too young to vote.

Other local women such as Miss Eskrigge, Miss Anderson and Mrs Karp helped organise a series of talks and debates in July 1914 which took place across the Eddisbury constituency in towns and villages such as Tarporley, Tattenhall and Waverton. These three women spoke to people and if they supported the movement for women’s suffrage they would sign postcards which would then be sent to the MP for Eddisbury at the time, Harry Barnston.

Despite the huge strides that have been made since 1918 we all know that there is still more to do. I look forward to working with people from across Eddisbury just as these women did 100 years ago to ensure we create an equal society. I would strongly encourage women’s organisations in Eddisbury to participate in the procession that is taking place on International Women’s Day in Parliament Square on Sunday 4th March.