2018 will mark 100 years since The Representation of the People Act and The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act was passed to reform the electoral system in Great Britain. This was the first time extended voting rights were given to some women, and it also gave women over the age of 21 the right to stand for election as an MP. Both pieces of legislation marked major advances for women's political participation and empowerment. The celebration of this historical moment provides a timely opportunity to reflect upon the advances that have been made for women's political participation, power and leadership in the UK, as well as considering the persistent challenges and contrasting and comparing with the situation in other countries. 

Building upon findings and recommendations of the British Council’s recent report on Gender equality and empowerment of women & girls in the UK: Meeting the Challenge of the Sustainable Development Goals, the research will examine the current situation in the four nations of the UK to provide an in-depth report on the current picture of women’s political participation, power and leadership, highlighting the progress that has been made, the existing strengths and persisting gaps, and the challenges and priorities.  

By considering decision-making levels within Westminster, devolved parliaments and local government, women's political participation and engagement as well as the role of civil society in influencing and holding democratic institutions to account, we hope to provide a realistic picture of the UK’s current position in this area, contribute to the achievement of SDG five in the UK and globally and support UK and international stakeholders working in this sphere to learn from each other and to collaborate more closely. 

We will be launching the report on 15 October 2018 and will be planning a series of dissemination events around the UK and internationally.

Join the conversation

To generate conversation and awareness in advance of the Women, Power and Politics research, we are asking people to join the debate on social media and respond to the following question using the hashtag #WomenPowerPolitics:

'100 years ago, (some) women gained the right to vote in the UK but worldwide there are still gender inequalities in politics and power. What change would you like to see over the next 10 years?'

Mikayla Jones answers the question in the video above. Mikayla is the Birmingham Senior Programme Manager for UpRising.

Any further questions should be sent to

The UK Government's Houses of Parliament  ©

Image  @ Mat Wright