‘Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves’

Ian Blair

Late last night, whilst looking through the 1911 Census returns for Chorley Wood, I chanced upon this wonderful household entry, which I feel deserves to be highlighted and shared.

Miss Atherton Votes for Women Census form


At the time of the 1911 Census, women in the UK had no right to vote in parliamentary elections, something that was not to change (albeit in a restricted fashion) until the end of the First World War, and the passing of the Representation of the People Act in 1918. This allowed women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, or graduates of British universities, to vote.

Although 8.5 million women met these criteria, it was only about two-thirds of the total population of women in the UK. It was not until the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 that women over 21 were able to vote and finally achieved the same voting rights as men. This act increased the number of women eligible to vote to 15 million.

Coincidentally, I have just found a ‘Find My Past’ blog post on this very subject entitled ‘5 defiant suffrage statements found in the 1911 census’, which was written a few months ago in July 2020. I must let them know, that they can now revise their title to ‘6 defiant suffrage statements...’, although I have no doubt, that many more of these inspirational entries are still out there, and will emerge in the fullness of time.




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