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Bill introduced to give women the vote
A women's suffrage poster Photo: LSE Library

Bill introduced to give women the vote

Westminster, 15 May 1917 - The Representation of the People Bill, which passed its first reading to the House of Commons today will allow women in the UK to vote in general elections for the first time.

While the legislation only proposes extending the franchise to women 30 years or over, this corresponds to an additional six million voters on the register.

The bill also removes existing complications for men’s franchise, makes provision for those serving at the front and introduces a limited form of proportional represenation.

That it will pass unchanged is not a foregone conclusion, however. There is strong opposition from Conservative quarters to the provisions regarding women. Resistance to this measure is so strong, the Irish Times suggests that it might be removed at the committee stage.

Before it becomes law, the bill must pass another two votes in the House of Commons before passing through the House of Lords and finally receiving Royal Assent.

Catriona Crowe explains the women's suffrage movement in Ireland.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.