Press Release

Speaker Launches Exhibition to Mark Anniversary of Women's Suffrage Movement

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Reference: SO 05/12/13

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA, today marked the women's suffrage movement with a special exhibition of student artwork at Parliament Buildings.

Between 1912 and 1914, women of all backgrounds, from across all sections of society, campaigned for women to have the right to vote. To mark this campaign, the Northern Ireland Assembly invited post-primary students to create a piece of work celebrating female participation in the democratic process. Competition winners were awarded prizes, and their work is currently on display in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings.

The Speaker of the Assembly, William Hay MLA said: "It is very fitting that the Assembly today hosted an event to mark the women's suffrage movement, as the campaign for women's right to vote is a significant milestone in the history of democracy. This important anniversary is one of a number of centenaries that the Assembly is marking as part of its "Perspectives On" series. I want to recognise the contribution of those who campaigned tirelessly for this hard-won right, and the importance of women's participation in political life. I am delighted that our young people took part in an event that celebrates the role of women in politics and am very impressed by the imagination and creativity on show in their work.

"When we reflect on the efforts the suffragettes made to secure the vote for women, it highlights that none of us should take the right to vote for granted. Of course, granting the right to vote was an important and symbolic step but I know many would agree that other issues on gender equality remain. As Speaker, it is not for me to publicly debate those issues and how they might be addressed. However, what I can say as Speaker is that I would like to see more female Members in the Assembly. The Members we have at the minute make an important contribution and bring their own perspective. Just like men, they will have their own individual views and styles but there are still too few of them."

ENDS

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA, awarded prizes to winners of an Assembly competition to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.  Pictured with the Speaker (front row, third from right) are MLAs, teachers and competition winners

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA, awarded prizes to winners of an Assembly competition to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.  Pictured with the Speaker (front row, third from right) are MLAs, teachers and competition winners


Notes to Editors:

Competition winners' work will be on display in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings from 29 April 2013 to 17 May 2013. Students were permitted to use any format to represent their depiction of the issues surrounding the female suffrage campaign; eg poster, poem, picture, photo, song, video, speech, or essay.

This event is part of the "Perspectives On" series that the Assembly Commission agreed to hold to mark the Decade of Centenaries within Parliament Buildings. The Assembly Commission is the corporate body of the Assembly, chaired by the Speaker, with one member from each of the main parties.

Visiting Parliament Buildings:

Parliament Buildings is open to the public between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday. Free guided tours are available Monday – Friday at 10.00am and 3.00pm.

Free tours are also available on the hour, every hour between 10.00am – 3.00pm during July and August and Halloween and Easter Recess periods (please check the Northern Ireland Assembly website for further details - http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Visit-and-Learning/).

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