University of Oxford Votes for Women 1918–2018 logo

With Professor Senia Pašeta

A FREE event celebrating 100 years since the Representation of the People Act of 1918 over a cuppa. We discussed the state of politics in 1918 versus 2018 with Professor Senia Pašeta and other distinguished guests, made your own badges, played a Suffragetto board game, and tried our exciting new Shout Out for Women trail. 

The discussion was chaired by Professor Senia Paseta,  Professor of Modern History, co-Director of Women in the Humanities and Curator of the Bodleian’s exhibition 'From Sappho to Suffragette: Women who Dared' with Hilary Baxter, Women’s Equality Party Oxford Rep. The event marked 100 years of The Representation of the People Act (Equal franchise) of 1918, allowing all women over 30 the right to vote and 90 years since the Representation of the People Act 1928, which gave all men and women over 21 the equal right to vote.

This event was part of the Westminster “EqualiTeas” and we had tea and coffees served in our Lecture Theatre here at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford during the panel discussion.

As part of the event, we launched the fabulous new trail called “Shout Out for Women” highlighting the women who worked, often behind the scenes on the collections of the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers, Botanic Gardens and Natural History Museum.

There was also the chance to hear the Oxford Belles sing in the Atrium, try out badge making, and have a go at the special Suffragettes vs Policemen Suffragetto game featured in the Sappho to Suffrage exhibition.


 Women gaining the Vote & Oxford Milestones

  • Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville Colleges opened in Oxford in 1879, followed by St Hugh's in 1886 and St Hilda's in 1893. 
  • 1918 Representation of the People Act (100 years) - All men over 21 and some women over 30 were granted the vote for the first time.
  • 1918 Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act (100 years) - Gave women over 21 the right to stand for election as an MP.1918 General Election (100 years)
  • General Election 14 December 1918 (100 years) - Women over 30 (and all men over 21) vote in a General Election for the first time.
  • 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act (90 years) - Gave women electoral equality with men.
  • The first woman to be appointed to a full professorship at Oxford was Agnes Headlam-Morley, who became Montague Burton Professor of International Relations in October 1948.
  • 1958 Life Peerages Act (60 years) - Female and male life peers could be members of the Lords.
  • Five all-male colleges - Brasenose, Jesus College, Wadham, Hertford and St Catherine's - first admitted women in 1974.
  • In 2016 Professor Louise Richardson became the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
  • 2018 Oxford currently has eleven female Heads of House: the Principals of Green Templeton College, Mansfield, St Anne's, St Hugh's, and Somerville; the Provost of Oriel; the Masters of Pembroke and St Cross;  the Presidents of St John's and Trinity; and the Acting President of Wolfson. In 1993 Professor Marilyn Butler, former Rector of Exeter, became the first female head of a former all-male college at either Oxford or Cambridge.