- UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
- Theresa May and more than 100 other MPs and peers posed in the Palace of Westminster.
- They stood with an original copy of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which first granted women the vote in 1918.
Female MPs and members of the House of Lords gathered in Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Tuesday to celebrate 100 years since women secured the vote.
Theresa May and more than 100 of her lawmaking colleagues posed alongside the original copy of the Representation of the People Act, which was passed in February 1918.
It formally granted women the ability to participate in UK democracy for the first time, though only to those who were aged 30 or over, and who met minimum property qualifications.
The law also extended the franchise to millions of poorer men who had previously been excluded. Voting ages would remain unequal until 1928.
- Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament
May, Britain’s second female Prime Minister, posed alongside several female cabinet ministers, including Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.
Harriet Harman, who has twice been interim leader of the opposition Labour party, stood alongside May. Angela Eagle, who campaigned to become Labour leader instead of incumbent Jeremy Corbyn, also posed for the photo.
Other notable faces include former cabinet ministers Priti Patel, Justine Greening, and Nicky Morgan, former minister Margaret Hodge and Labour MP Jess Philips, a prominent backbencher.
The lawmakers assembled were a fraction of the total number of women in political office at Westminster.
Currently, 208 of 650 MPs in the House of Commons are women, and, by coincidence, also 208 women in the House of Lords. There are 793 members of both houses in total.
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) February 6, 2018
The 1918 bill was a triumph of the female suffrage movement, which spent decades campaigning for women to be granted the vote.
Towards the end of the campaign, the suffragette movement adopted more militant tactics, including throwing bricks through windows and setting fire to buildings.
Some leading campaigners were imprisoned, including suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst. Today groups including the Labour party argue that women imprisoned in the course of campaigning for the vote should be granted posthumous pardons.