On the 6th of February in 1918, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was approved by Royal Assent and began the enfranchisement of women in the United Kingdom. Under the 1918 Act, all men over the age of 21, or over the age of 19 if they were servicemen, were enfranchised. So too, women over 30 years of age received the vote, but only if they were a member of or married to a member of the Local Government Register, if they were a property owner, or if they were a graduate voting in a University constituency.
Nonetheless, the Act was a huge step forward for democracy and women's suffrage in particular. By the end of 1918, the size of the British electorate tripled to about 21,400,000, which included voters in Ireland, then still under British rule, with women accounting for approximately 43% of eligible voters nationwide.
Today, Shadow Minister for Labour Laura Pidcock MP (North West Durham) tweeted:
The 1918 Act is a milestone that should be celebrated, but it's also important to remember that (a) the vote was not given to working class women & (b) when the vote was achieved, it was due to the protests & sacrifices of those women, not the gift of men.
And Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted:
What better way to start today's #Vote100 celebrations than by gathering with all the talented female MPs in Parliament. More must be done, but I'm proud that there are over 200 female MPs — our democracy is stronger as a result.
In the United States, women gained the right to vote through the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified on August 18, 1920.
Image, click to enlarge: Suffragette in Trafalgar Sq., c. 1911. Charles Chusseau-Flaviens, photographer. Photograph from Spitalfields Life blog courtesy of George Eastman House.
Image, click to enlarge: Photograph posted to Twitter by British Prime Minister Theresa May.