On the 100 year anniversary of the first general election that British women were eligible to vote in, female councillors from across the political divide met with inspiring Gloucestershire women for an ‘Equali-tea party’ at Shire Hall.

Cllrs Lesley Williams (Lab), Kathy Williams (Con) and Suzanne Williams (Lib), along with Chairman Andrew Gravells welcomed guests such as the Mayor of Gloucester Joanne Brown, Dame Janet Trotter, and parliamentary candidates for Stroud and Gloucester respectively, Siobhan Bailie and Fran Boait.

101 year old Joyce Morse from Longhope, who was born the year before women were given the vote, told guests that due to the war, she was 28 before she could vote in an election and, despite her age, still plays the organ every Sunday at church.

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Lesley Williams, said: “1918 was an incredibly important year when we think about women’s rights. Although full suffrage wasn’t granted until ten years later, the Representation of the People Act was the first step in securing political equality”

“I’m delighted to be able to host this event and bring together inspiring local women who have succeeded in what is still very much a man’s world”

Cllr Suzanne Williams (Lib Dem, Hesters Way and Springbank) said “It’s important that this is a cross-party event as women in all political parties have a responsibility to pave the way for the next generation. We’ve come a long way but there’s still work to do. There are only 10 women out of 53 on the council and that’s simply not representative of the society in which we live”

Cllr Kathy Williams (Con, Longlevens) said: “Saturday 14 December 1918 was the first general election in which women were eligible to vote. It’s fantastic that we are commemorating this important anniversary exactly 100 years to the day that women were able to exercise that right for the first time”

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