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Suffrage 100: "We still have a long way to go" says Onwurah

PICTURED: Chi Onwurah

CHI ONWURAH, Labour MP for Newcastle Central, has spoken on the centenary of women's right to vote, marking the occasion which has opened doors for women.

Speaking to The Voice The Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science & Innovation said: "It’s 100 years since women got the vote and as a Member of Parliament still dominated by men, that means to me that we have made progress in opening up the corridors of power to women, but there is still much more to do.

"As long as key decisions are taken mainly by men, women’s interests will not be represented and we need to a gender balanced Parliament to really represent our country."

She added that greater diversity still needs to be pushed in order to have their opinions voiced. "We also need to make progress on other aspects of diversity – women who are black, disabled, lesbian and/or working class need to have their voices heard too!"

Today, Tuesday 6 February 2018, is the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 receiving royal assent, which allowed some women to vote for the first time.

THOUGHTS: Dawn Butler (Photo credit: BBC))

The monumental moment has been celebrated across the UK, starting with the launch of an exhibition in Trafalgar Square, led by the Mayor of London, who also announced that a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square will be unveiled this year.

Other key figures in politics have shared their thoughts on the suffrage centenary. Dawn Butler MP wrote an opinion piece on the government's failure to mark a 100 years of votes for women, and discussed how "sexism is alive and well."

She wrote: "This was a momentous achievement. But it was only the first step. It was another ten years of struggle before women had the same voting rights as men. This centenary is an occasion to celebrate women’s suffrage and the many important achievements since, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on how we can achieve full equality for women.

"When I was first elected to Parliament, I was told by a fellow MP that the lift I was in was “not meant for cleaners”. Another former MP, David Heathcote-Amory, saw me and exclaimed “this place is going to wreck and ruin - they’re letting anyone nowadays.” This was a stark reminder of how much further we have to go to achieve equality for women – and for women from diverse backgrounds, so often forgotten and written out of the history of our struggle."

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