100 Years of women in politics - How have women from the North East impacted British politics?

The Representation of the People Act, passed on 6 February 1918, gave most women over the age of 30 the right to vote in parliamentary elections for the very first time. This is just one aspect of women's struggle to be directly involved in British politics.

Teaching idea

This Women's Suffrage Booklet (above) contains a selection of 10 of the many women in British political history, national as well as local who have ‘made a difference’. It briefly explains their importance and where to discover more. It provides some ideas for developing lesson plans and creative activities based on literacy, history, art & culture. You can also receive guidance and support for your research from Gateshead Local History Library - http://www.gatesheadlibraries.com/.

The suggested activities include:

  • Research the roles these important women held such as a Mayor, MP, Cabinet Minister, Privy Councillor, Alderman etc.
  • Look at portraits of the women, how are they represented/ how did they choose to represent themselves?
  • Research what working conditions for shop assistants in the past were like - does this help explain why a woman shop assistant chose to go into politics?
  • Debate is very important in politics. Pick a topic relevant to your school or classroom and at the end of the debate vote on whose argument was the best.
  • Use primary evidence, such as newspapers, to help answer the question - Why did the working people need to be part of a union?
  • Debate in parliament usually begins with a Green Paper. You can read some information on the latest green paper on Equal Pay for Women. Do you think people should be paid the same amount of money for doing the same job?

Learning aims and outcomes

  • Pupils should develop an awareness of political rights in Britain, especially relating to voting
  • Pupils should develop an awareness of the actions of leading female politicians from the North East
  • Pupils should be able to use primary historical evidence to help research questions
  • Pupils should be able to critically assess evidence to form their own opinions
  • Pupils should understand the reasons for and skills involved in debating

Prior knowledge

  • Pupils understand that here was a time when women were not allowed to vote or be politicians

Extended learning and useful links