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|Long title||An Act to assimilate the franchises for men and women in respect of parliamentary and local government elections; and for purposes consequential thereon.|
|Citation||18 & 19 Geo. 5 c. 12|
|Territorial extent||United Kingdom|
|Royal assent||2 July 1928|
|Repealed by||Representation of the People Act 1948|
The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. This act expanded on the Representation of the People Act 1918 which had given some women the vote in Parliamentary elections for the first time after World War I. The 1928 Act widened suffrage by giving women electoral equality with men. It gave the vote to all women over 21 years old, regardless of property ownership. Prior to this act only women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications could vote. Similar provision was made for the Parliament of Northern Ireland by the Representation of the People Act (Northern Ireland) 1928 (18 & 19 Geo V, Ch 24 (NI)).
This statute is sometimes known informally as the Fifth Reform Act or the Equal Suffrage Act.
The act was passed by the Conservative Party without much opposition from other parties.
The bill became law on 2 July 1928, having been introduced in March. The leader of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies who had campaigned for the vote, Millicent Fawcett, was still alive and attended the parliament session to see the vote take place. She wrote in her diary the same night "It is almost exactly 61 years ago since I heard John Stuart Mill introduce his suffrage amendment to the Reform Bill on 20 May 1867. So I have had extraordinary good luck in having seen the struggle from the beginning."
On 5 August 1928 Millicent Fawcett obtained a letter from the prime minister Stanley Baldwin. He points out that even though there were obstacles in passing the bill, he always believed it would be ratified in "the simple and complete form it ultimately assumed".He finishes the letter by expressing a hope that equal vote would be beneficial for the country and it would serve for the greater good in England.
The Act added five million more women to the electoral roll and had the effect of making women a majority, 52.7%, of the electorate in the 1929 general election,which was termed the "Flapper Election".
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. According to its preamble, the Act was designed to "take effectual Measures for correcting divers Abuses that have long prevailed in the Choice of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament". Before the reform, most members nominally represented boroughs. The number of electors in a borough varied widely, from a dozen or so up to 12,000. Frequently the selection of MPs was effectively controlled by one powerful patron: for example Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled eleven boroughs. Criteria for qualification for the franchise varied greatly among boroughs, from the requirement to own land, to merely living in a house with a hearth sufficient to boil a pot.
Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett was an English political leader, activist and writer. Known as a tireless campaigner for women's suffrage via legislative change, from 1897 until 1919 she led Britain's largest women's rights organisation, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). She would famously write: "I cannot say I became a suffragist. I always was one, from the time I was old enough to think at all about the principles of Representative Government."
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Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the late 19th century, besides women working for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting laws to allow them to vote. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts towards that objective, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, as well as for equal civil rights for women.
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The Representation of the People Act 1918 was an Act of Parliament passed to reform the electoral system in Great Britain and Ireland. It is sometimes known as the Fourth Reform Act. The Act extended the franchise in parliamentary elections, also known as the right to vote, to men aged 21 and over, whether or not they owned property, and to women aged 30 and over who resided in the constituency or occupied land or premises with a rateable value above £5, or whose husbands did. At the same time, it extended the local government franchise to include women aged 21 and over on the same terms as men.
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The Representation of the People Act 1969 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. This statute is sometimes known as the Sixth Reform Act. The 1970 United Kingdom general election is the first in which this Act had effect.
The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was a piece of electoral reform legislation that redistributed the seats in the House of Commons, introducing the concept of equally populated constituencies, a concept in the broader global context termed equal apportionment, in an attempt to equalise representation across the UK. It was associated with, but not part of, the Representation of the People Act 1884.
The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), also known as the suffragists was an organisation of women's suffrage societies around the United Kingdom.
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Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom was a movement to fight for women's right to vote. It finally succeeded through two laws in 1918 and 1928. It became a national movement in the Victorian era. Women were not explicitly banned from voting in Great Britain until the Reform Act 1832 and the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. In 1872 the fight for women's suffrage became a national movement with the formation of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and later the more influential National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). As well as in England, women's suffrage movements in Wales and other parts of the United Kingdom gained momentum. The movements shifted sentiments in favour of woman suffrage by 1906. It was at this point that the militant campaign began with the formation of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).
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