Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Women march in Edinburgh to mark suffrage centenary

Suffrage march centenary
Image caption Thousands of women marched through Edinburgh city centre to mark the centenary

Women marking the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People's Act, which gave some women the right to vote, have marched through Edinburgh.

The march was part of a UK-wide event where participants wore either green, white or violet - the colours of the suffrage movement.

The marchers were choreographed to create a mass artwork showing a striped suffragette banner.

The procession made its way from The Meadows to Holyrood Park.

Organiser Processions said they hoped to inspire thousands of women and girls from across the UK to walk together to form a "living portrait" of women in the 21st Century.

The march saw participants follow in the footsteps of Scottish suffragettes, who marched along Princes Street in 1909 during a demonstration arranged by the Women's Social and Political Union.

Image caption Women have created handmade art to take part in the procession
Image copyright PA
Image caption Women dressed as suffragettes smile as marchers gather on The Meadows in Edinburgh

As part of the event marchers were given a scarf to wear in one of the three suffragette colours and choreographed to walk in bands of colour.

The People Act, which was passed by the UK Parliament in 1918, gave women over the age of 30 and who also owned property the right to vote.

Later that same year, women were also given the opportunity to stand for parliament and also vote in their first general election.

Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council
Image caption Women took to the streets of Edinburgh in 1909 to call for the vote
Image caption The women formed a living artwork showing the colours of the Suffragette movement

Women, including those who identify as women and non-binary, joined others in Belfast, Cardiff, and London to take part in the walk simultaneously.

As part of the project, 100 organisations from across the UK - including the Scottish Refugee Council and Women in Prison - were commissioned to create handmade banners in collaboration with female artists, to be carried during the processions.

Jean Cameron, who organised the parade in Edinburgh, said: "The original processions used banners, beautiful banners, acknowledging the hopes and dreams of women then.

"Across the whole country, women and girls are curating their own banners and making contemporary textile banners to say what matters to women in the 21st century."

Image caption Women from across the country are joining the mark to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People's Act
Image copyright Carol Purcell
Image caption The marchers are calling for equality for women

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: "Processions is a great opportunity to celebrate the centenary of some women getting the vote, an important milestone in our country's history.

"As we mark this anniversary and while we have come a long way since 1918, this event also offers an occasion for us all to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that still lie ahead."

Image copyright Amy Ferguson
Image copyright Amy Ferguson
Image copyright Amy Ferguson
Image copyright Amy Ferguson

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