News News & press releases Fawcett comments on call to grant suffragettes legal pardon 06 FEBRUARY 2018 Campaigners today are calling for the suffragettes, a group of activists led by Emmeline Pankhurst who fought to secure women the vote over 100 years ago, to be given the royal pardon. Fawcett Society Chief Executive Sam Smethers says: “Suffragette activism was for a noble cause and many of them became political prisoners. It would be a fitting tribute to pardon them now. They made such sacrifices so that we could all enjoy the rights we have today. In any meaningful sense of the word, they were not criminals.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd says she would 'take a look', but giving a legal pardon for acts including arson would be 'complicated'. Thousands are today marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, which granted women over 30 who owned property, or were married to a man who did, the right to vote. Universal suffrage came ten years later in 1928. Theresa May is due to hail the "heroism" of the suffragettes at a speech in Manchester marking the centenary of women's votes. Other ways in which the anniversary is being marked, as reported by the BBC here, include: A public exhibition of life-sized images of the central figures of the suffrage movement in London's Trafalgar Square Portraits of these people will also be in an exhibition at London's City Hall A reception for female MPs past and present in Parliament, hosted by Mrs May The Parliamentary Archives will display the 1918 Representation of the People Act itself for the first time BBC Radio 4's flagship Today Programme used only women contributors and an all-female presenter line-up on its show GET INVOLVED 100 years ago today, Millicent Fawcett, the Pankhursts and other suffrage campaigners secured the first women the right to vote, enfranchising over 8 million women. This is a symbolically momentous day. We must raise our voices to honour and continue their fight.Today we launch #OurTimeNow, our campaign calling for an end to gender inequality for good. Will you stand with us?We want everyone to tweet or post a picture of their watch or a clock face and use the hashtag #OurTimeNow, and tell us the one change you want to see in 2018. Make your voice heard now!