On 6 February 1918, the Representation of the People Act was given royal assent following years of struggle by the Suffragette Movement. The Act added 8.5 million women – those over 30 who owned property or were graduates voting in a university constituency – to the electoral roll. Women over 21 eventually got the vote ten years later in 1928. To mark this day, St Anne's is proudly flying a ‘Votes for Women’ flag in the suffrage colours , green white and purple - the colours of the Women's Social and Political Union, which was led by Emmeline Pankhurst.
Flying the Suffragette colours is part of activities organised by TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) in collaboration Oxford city and county. A series of University events will complement a programme to mark 100 years of votes for women taking place across Oxford this year.
On this day, Helen King has also unveiled a plaque in Cirencester, which remembers Grace Hadow as a Suffragist, a founder of the Women's Institute and a former Principal of the Society for Home-Students.
Grace Hadow (1875-1940) read English at Somerville College and gained firstclass honours in 1903. She taught at Bryn Mawr and Lady Margaret Hall, and edited/wrote the Oxford Treasury of English Literature, Chaucer and his Times, and volumes of essays on Addison and Goldsmith. Alongside her scholarly work she developed a life-long commitment to adult education for the study and promotion of social welfare, particularly in rural areas. From these interests came her secretaryship of Barnett House (Oxford’s new centre for social and economic studies and social work training) and her founding of the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, the first body of its kind in Britain. Her time (1929-1940) as Principal of the Society of Home-Students saw the Society build for itself (with Mrs Hartland’s benefaction) for the first time, and move firmly in the direction of the collegiate status achieved in 1952. She died in post of viral pneumonia at the age of 65.
During the evening of 6 February, Helen King, and Professor Jo Delahunty QC will be participating in a roundtable discussion at St Hugh's College asking 'One hundred years of women's suffrage: where to next?'