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Equality on the agenda


At yesterday’s (28th) full council meeting, councillors agreed to work to better recognise the efforts of women in the county.

Last month marked the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act which was passed in 1918.

The act gave all men over the age of 21, and property-owning women over the age of 30, the right to vote in elections which was a huge step for equality in Britain. Suffrage was later granted to all women until 1928 under the Equal Franchise Act.

The motion was presented by Cllr Lesley Williams (Stonehouse, Labour) and stated:

“This Council recognises:

  • The Centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave property-owning women over 30 and all men the right to vote in parliamentary elections, was a huge step forward for gender equality.
  • That Shire Hall, as a place of democracy, must be representative of the county that members serve and that there is little in the building that reflects the achievements of women and our diverse communities.
  • That the downstairs corridor and wall of ‘Great Gloucestershire Achievers’ has not been reviewed and updated for some time.”

It called for:

“a cross-party working group should be established to see how the walls of Shire Hall can reflect and recognise the achievements of our communities and their contribution to our county’s history.”

The motion was carried with the full support of councillors in the chamber, and will now see a cross party working group set up to look at ways in which Shire Hall could better reflect the diversity of Gloucestershire.

Cllr Leslie Williams (Stonehouse, Labour), leader of the Labour and Green Co-operative Alliance at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Gloucestershire is incredibly diverse and we feel that this should be reflected in our surroundings here at Shire Hall.

“In celebration of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, I am pleased that we have cross-party support for better representation of the people of Gloucestershire and all they have achieved.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Quedgeley, Conservative), leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “As we look forward to the future, it also pays to look back and recognise the efforts of those who have achieved so much for the county.

“We have already approved proposals for more gender neutral language in the council’s constitution, and I am pleased to be able to support this motion too.”

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach, Liberal Democrat), leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Gloucestershire County Council, echoed the sentiments: “I am pleased to support this motion.

“We should make every effort to recognise the work of women and our diverse communities who have made Gloucestershire the great county it is.”

Last month, the council’s Constitution Committee agreed to make amends to the constitution which would see more gender neutral language used when referring to the council’s chairperson.

As part of that, an option is being written in to allow the elected chair of council to choose how they wish to be addressed, according to their own individual preferences.

You can re-watch yesterday’s full council meeting at: