South East Wales

Suffrage centenary: Thousands of women celebrate in Cardiff march

Women and girls take part in the march
Image caption Women of all ages took part in the celebration in Cardiff - at the same time as women in London, Belfast and Edinburgh

Thousands of women of all ages have marched together through Cardiff in celebration of women winning the right to vote.

Mothers with babies were joined by older generations - some in mobility scooters - in the parade to Bute Park.

It marked 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was passed - which gave some women the right to vote.

"It's going to go down in history," said Louisa Helen Johnson, of Swansea.

Image caption Age was no barrier to taking part in the celebrations

Young and old, and wearing green, white or violet - the suffragette colours - the women marched through Cardiff at the same time as women in London, Belfast and Edinburgh took to the streets.

The mass celebrations marked the centenary of the law, which gave women the vote - but only if they were 30 years old and also owned property.

Ms Johnson, who is a direct descendent of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, told BBC Wales: "It is such a monumental occasion.

"I feel terribly proud of my relatives and how they changed the world."

Image caption Laura Harris, 29, and Etta Kersley, 11 months, joined in the joyful celebration through the city

Laura Harris, 29, from Cardiff, joined the parade from Cardiff City's football stadium with 11-month-old Etta Kersley.

"We are here to support all the ladies who have come before us," she said.

Women of all ages sang, chanted and carried banners during the procession, with three generations of women from the Roderick family, from Cardiff, taking to the streets, saying they wanted it to be a day that the children would remember.

And 81-year-old Alma Thomas, from Thornhill, stopped to pick litter after the march.

"It's been wonderful to see the purple, white and green coming past the castle with everyone having such a wonderful time to mark such an important occasion," said organiser Elin Rees.

"Women of all ages and backgrounds have come together today to celebrate and make history."

Image caption Three generations of women in the Roderick family celebrated in the sunshine
Image caption Brownies, carrying home-made banners, took part in the march

Modern-day protest banners created by groups of women and girls from across Wales were carried through the streets of the capital - bearing their messages about equality issues faced by women today.

"Our square is about me passing on my knowledge, passing on the fight, it's from me to her and it's something we made together," said one mother, who made a square on a banner with her daughter.

Bethan Frieze, of choir Only Menopause Aloud who are sang during the celebration, said: "It's 100 years since the suffragettes got women the right to vote, and I can't believe there was ever a time when we didn't have the vote.

"It's not just about us singing - it's about us talking to our daughters, and in schools and the community, about what that meant at that time and how it's affected us today."

Image caption Chrisma (six), Natasha (12) and Jenny enjoyed the festival atmosphere

Female brass players from across south Wales also performed in scratch band Symphonic Brass Wales.

Conductor Jacquie Scaife said: "I feel quite honoured to conduct on this occasion, because to have so many women playing in a brass band together is so unusual."

Image copyright National Museum of Wales
Image caption This photo shows Welsh women taking part in the great suffrage pilgrimage of 1913, travelling from Cardiff to London's Hyde Park

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites