This year marks several important anniversaries, including 100 years some women won the vote and 90 years since all women did. It’s also 50 years since the Ford Dagenham strike that inspired the Equal Pay Act.
We’re delighted that the suffragettes are taking their place in history 100 years on, but we also want to use the anniversary to talk about what happened next. Not only about the women who didn’t get the vote in 1918, but the story of women’s struggle for equality in the decades that followed, and today.
Our programme links 1918 and 2018, and focuses on the experiences of working class women in east London.
Making Her Mark, Hackney Museum
6 February – 19 May 2018
Our Making Her Mark exhibition was created in collaboration with Hackney Museum and takes 1918 as the starting point in a look back at 100 years of women-led activism in the borough, on issues ranging from education, workers’ rights, and healthcare to domestic violence, the peace movement, and police relations.
Making Her Mark explores how local women have brought about change in their community and in wider society through political campaigns, industrial action, peaceful protest, direct action, and the arts.
Working For Equality, Barking & Dagenham
April – November 2018
Our Working For Equality project with Eastside Community Heritage takes 1918 as the starting point in the story of 50 critical years in the struggle for working women’s rights, and connects the dots between the suffragettes’ equal pay campaigns during WWI and the Ford Dagenham strikers.
Women factory workers in Barking & Dagenham are at the heart of the story. We’ll be collecting their histories and sharing them through a mobile exhibition and a series of free, fun events. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Votes for Women Garden Party, July
Join us for a garden party marking 90 years since women won the vote at the age of 21. We’ll be celebrating the ‘flappers’ who voted for the first time in 1929 and the young women who followed them by dancing down the decades: watch demonstrations of the charleston, the jitterbug, rock n roll, and the twist, and maybe try some steps yourself! Enjoy some refreshments, make a suffragette sash, and visit our exhibition about women’s fight for equality in the workplace from the suffragettes to the Ford Dagenham strikers.
Strong Women Family Day, September
In 1926 boxer Annie Newton challenged people who said women shouldn’t box by asking if it was “half as hard work as scrubbing floors? Is it any more risky than working in a munitions factory?” Our family event celebrates strong women and girls past and present: from Annie Newton to Nicola Adams, the courage of the suffragettes and the ‘munitionettes’, and every woman who has ever scrubbed a floor. Visit our exhibition and enjoy games and activities, fascinating stories, and demonstrations by sports clubs.
Girls Do Science Family Day, October
You might have heard of the ‘munitionettes’ who worked on the assembly line in factories during the First World War, but did you know women worked as scientists too? Our family event celebrates women’s contribution to science, technology, engineering, maths and manufacturing then and now, highlighting role models and exciting innovations along the way. Join us for inspiring talks, games, activities and demonstrations, find out about studying and working in STEM, and visit our mobile exhibition.
Women of colour in UK labour history: film screening and panel discussion, October
Join us for a documentary screening about the 1976 Grunwick Strike, which was led largely by migrant women workers of South Asian origin. The film will be followed by a panel discussion about the often overlooked contribution of WOC in labour history, as well as interactions of race, class, and gender in industrial action and activism.
The Women’s Hall, Tower Hamlets
May – December 2018
The Women’s Hall project, developed in partnership with Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, Four Corners, and Women's History Month in east London, will explore some lesser-known suffrage stories from east London through two major exhibitions, a series of events, and a participatory photography project.
The East London Federation of the Suffragettes were a radical group who split from the WSPU in 1914 and fought for working women’s rights throughout the First World War. The Women’s Hall at 400 Old Ford Road in Bow was their headquarters from 1914-1924, a women’s social centre, and the home of their leader, Sylvia Pankhurst. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.