UK Parliament launches EqualiTeas

19 June 2018

UK Parliament launches EqualiTeas, as thousands of groups come together to celebrate and debate what equality means to them.

Almost 3000 groups from Plymouth to Abernethy will host events to share, debate, and celebrate what equality means to them, as the UK Parliament launches EqualiTeas.

EqualiTeas (18 June and 2 July) is part of programme of events from the UK Parliament to mark 2018’s important milestones for democracy.

It is now 100 years since The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women. Ten years later The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, gave all men and women over 21 the right to vote. These acts followed years of campaigning, with the first petition to Parliament asking for votes for women presented to the House of Commons on 3 August 1832.

Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism. It was one of the few ways women could meet without men to discuss and plan. The leading suffrage organisations used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money.

Speaking at the EqualiTeas launch event at the UK Parliament, Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom said:

“EqualiTeas is the perfect way to mark the Vote100 suffrage anniversary, by inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in our democracy. I hope everyone who participates in EqualiTeas events this year channels the optimism, the hope and ambition of those suffragettes who met in tea rooms around the country 100 years ago - and in doing so, changed this country for the better.”

Baroness Williams of Trafford, Minister of State for the Home Office in the House of Lords added:
 
“EqualiTeas are a great way to reflect on the women that fought for our right to vote and discuss ways that we can tackle the inequality that women still face today. It’s inspiring to see that so many people and organisations across the nation have signed up to take part and have these vital conversations.
 
“This year not only celebrates the centenary of some women getting the vote, but also 60 years of women being able to sit in the House of Lords. I am pleased to be able to acknowledge the achievements of women in both Houses and their invaluable contribution to society.”

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said:

“Almost 3000 events are taking place across the UK as part of EqualiTeas. These events will see people coming together to celebrate our shared political history and the achievements of the early suffrage pioneers, and to debate what equality means to them today.

With partners including the  Women’s Institute and Young Women's Trust I am sure EqualiTeas will be a huge success that inspires people to get involved and make the most of the opportunities they have to make their voices heard in our parliamentary democracy today.”

Further information

  • Further information about EqualiTeas can be found on our website. This includes a list of public events and full list of partners.
  • As part of Vote 100, Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament, will host a major free public exhibition “Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament” this summer.  The story of women and parliament will be told through immersive and interactive technologies to help recreate lost historic spaces that were used by women in the Palace of Westminster. It will include key historic objects from Parliamentary collections and significant loans from around the UK. Book on our website.
  • As part of the Vote 100 programme, Parliament is releasing a series of hard-hitting films to highlight how four key acts changed the lives of women. Four women have agreed to speak directly to camera in highly personal interviews about the difference the Representation of the People Act 1918, the Female Genital Mutilation Act, the NHS Act and Abortion Act have made to their lives. This the third instalment of Your Story, Our History, a film series that explores how legislation passed by the UK Parliament can transform people’s lives. View the ‘Your Story, Our History’ video series on YouTube:  Tobi, Sarian, Therese and Courtenay.

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