Centenary Action Group is a cross-party coalition of over 100 activists, politicians and organisations campaigning to eradicate the barriers that prevent women in all our diversity from taking part in politics.
You can find out more about our members here.
We believe it is crucial that our politics reflects the diversity of the people it seeks to represent. Just over one hundred years since the first women in the UK got the vote, only 34% of MPs are women. Disabled women, young women, Black, Asian and ethnic minority women, and poor and working class women are underrepresented at every level of politics.
Centenary Action Group advocates for the development and implementation of laws and policies that reduce or remove the intersectional barriers to women’s political participation, including:
The violence, harassment and abuse that politically active women face on and offline;
The economic inequalities that prevent women from engaging in politics and decision-making;
The culture and practices within politics that deter and exclude women.
Globally, women make up less than one quarter of legislators and almost half of these women have received threats of death, rape, beatings or abduction during their parliamentary terms, including threats to kidnap or kill their children. In the UK, 89 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men say that sexism still exists in Parliament and four in 10 women councillors have experienced sexist comments from within their own party. Women must be able to take part in the decisions that affect their lives free from violence and harassment.
Together the Centenary Action Group has called on the UK government to deliver real change for women’s lives in the UK and around the world. Specifically:
To implement Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010, requiring political parties to publish their candidate diversity data, and create positive pressure for change;
To end harassment in the workplace through introducing a mandatory preventative duty on employers, reinstating third party harassment laws, and championing a progressive ILO Convention at the global level;
To end online abuse and harassment through committing 10% of the new digital services tax to ending online abuse.
How We Started
Inspired by the suffragettes and suffragists, the Centenary Action Group was established by Helen Pankhurst in 2018 to mark the centenary of some women first getting the right to vote and take action over the next ten years to ensure equal representation by 2028, the centenary when all women in the UK won the right to vote.
In February 2018, we reached over 9 million people to ask why they were #StillMarching for gender equality
and called for government action to support their efforts. In March 2018, 10,000 people called for global gender equality and an end to harassment and violence at work at the huge #March4Women event in Trafalgar Square. In June 2018, we again took to the streets and galvanised tens of thousands of women and women’s organisations from across the four nations to take part in Processions and remember the work of the suffragettes and suffragists to get women’s right to vote and a greater say in the political decisions that affect women’s lives.
In November, women outnumbered men at Westminster on #AskHerToStandDay when over 300 women were invited by MPs to consider standing for election. As a result, over 100 have signed up to stand with 50:50 Parliament. Great initiatives such as #AskHerToStand have shown that there are fantastic women out there who are willing to step up to the plate, but there are numerous structural obstacles in the way of women who do put their names forward.
We are proud of what we achieved in a difficult political climate. The barriers that women in politics face are more visible than ever and thousands have taken action and called on the government to deliver on the legacy of the suffragettes and suffragists. But, we cannot wait for another 50 years to see equal representation. We must have action that ensures women have the right to take part in the decisions that affect their lives; that their voices are heard; and that they can do so without fear of violence, abuse and harassment.
The Centenary Action Group are uniquely placed to bring together the women’s right sector across political divides and demonstrate the power of sisterhood. We are committed to making audible and visible women’s diverse experiences of patriarchy and to creating the conditions in which marginalised women feel able have their voices heard and respected. We are #StillMarching.