MSPs today celebrated the centenary of women’s right to vote in Britain. The debate paid homage to the diligent and invaluable work from women up and down the country that led to expanded women’s rights, acknowledging that their dedication, and unwavering commitment to equality were the first steps towards achieving real equality in this country.
Contributions made by MSPs from all parties recognised that without the work of the suffrage movement in the late 19th and early 20th century, not only would they not have their seats in the Scottish Parliament, but they would not have many other rights which were only afforded to women after the vote was gained in 1918.
All of those involved in the debate agreed that much is owed, by everyone, to these brave women, who were unwavering in their fight for justice.
South of Scotland MSP Michelle Ballantyne paid her respects to those women who campaigned so fiercely to secure suffrage. She highlighted that well over 1,000 women were imprisoned, and many were subsequently force-fed once detained. Mrs Ballantyne went on to call for everyone to remember their struggle by respecting the rights these campaigners won on behalf of all women.
Mrs Ballantyne also spoke of the need for both women and men to not dismiss the significance of the suffrage movement. Those women sacrificed their liberty, dignity and, for some, their lives to gain rights that many of us take for granted.
To watch the speech, click here.
Commenting on the centenary in the Scottish Parliament, Michelle Ballantyne said:
“The sacrifices those women were willing to make afforded us crucial freedoms, which many now take for granted.
“The courage to question, and courage to pursue what you believe in; that is the legacy of the suffrage movement and it is one which cannot be overrated.
“The significance of this debate extends beyond women’s right to vote. It is an opportunity to celebrate our progress towards universal equality.
“The majority of young girls today do not suffer the inequality of opportunity that they would have in previous generations. Today our daughters are encouraged to achieve just as much as the boys they grow up with.