Sunday, 4 November 2007

First women councillors 100 years ago

It's a hundred years ago this month that the first women councillors were elected in this country, at the elections of 1 November 1907, following the Qualification of Women Act. They started taking office at the first meetings of the new councils, 100 years ago this week.

The first woman mayor, in 1909, was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who became mayor of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. She was also the first woman to qualify as a doctor in the UK.

It took another 21 years before women got the same voting rights as men, in 1928. A personal note from the editor - when women were first given full voting rights, my grandmother and her friend arrived a long time before the start of voting. When the polling station opened they walked in together so that they could claim to be the first women to vote under the new law.

This slide show from BBC Woman's Hour gives some interesting insights into the decade 1900-1909.

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