Campaigners, politicians, teachers and community leaders marked the centenary of women being given the right to vote at a reception at Waltham Forest Town Hall.
London Assembly member Jennette Arnold, Artist Farah Ishaq, Walthamstow Village in Bloom leader Helen Lerner joined Leader of the Council Clare Coghill on Thursday 8 February, where the front of the Town Hall was lit up purple to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of women being granted permission to vote in elections.
Cllr Coghill, who became the first female leader of Waltham Forest Council when she took over the helm last May, said: “I stand here, alongside these influential women from our borough, to honour the brave and dedicated women who for more than 50 years fought a bitter battle, which left them often ostracised from their families, in order to secure the vote for women.
“Equal rights have come a long way over the last century, however we have to acknowledge that women are still experiencing firsts in politics; I am the first female leader of Waltham Forest Council, which came into existence almost 53 years ago.
“Also equal pay and sexual harassment is still an issue of the day. Thankfully, it is clear that women are becoming increasingly empowered with campaigns like #MeToo and The Fawcett Society’s #OurTimeNow and I will do everything I can to honour these campaigns in the work that I do here at Waltham Forest Council.”
Already 90 per cent of women in the borough are registered to vote in this year’s council elections on May 3, 2018, compared to only 85 per cent of eligible men.
Cllr Coghill added: “I am also incredibly proud that the women of this borough are ensuring that they are exercising their democratic right by registering to vote in this year’s local elections in May. I encourage everyone to make sure that they are registered and ready to take part in the democratic process on May 3.”
Residents wishing to vote in this year’s council elections must be registered by midnight Tuesday 17 April 2018. Residents need their National Insurance number, Date of Birth, Nationality and address details to register on www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Residents not available to go to the polling station on May 3 can either register for a postal vote by 5pm on Wednesday 18 April or apply for a friend or relative to vote on their behalf by proxy. Applications for proxy votes must be made by 5pm on Wednesday 25 April.