Suffragettes 100: Opinion: Woman’s museum is great addition to borough

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 February 2018


This week we have been celebrating the centenary of one of the most important pieces of law in the history of our country.

The Representation of the People Act was passed on February 6, 1918, giving some women the right to vote for the first time.

It was the culmination of an extraordinary campaign by the suffragette movement to emancipate women

Barking and Dagenham has been proudly at the forefront of that movement from Mary Wollstonecraft and Sylvia Pankhurst, to the suffragettes who used to meet at the Three Lamps, and the Ford machinists in “Made in Dagenham” who fought for equal pay.

So I am truly delighted that the Barking Wharf development has been chosen as the permanent site for the new East End Women’s Museum.

As well as highlighting pioneering women with links to east London, the new museum will explore everyday local history from women’s perspectives.

The museum will work with experienced local partner Eastside Community Heritage to develop the new space and local women and girls will be invited to help shape the museum’s collection.

It aims to challenge gender stereotypes and offer new local role models for girls and young women, creating a resource for schools, community groups, and historians.

Although it won’t open its doors until the end of 2019 at the earliest, this year it will be touring the borough with a mobile exhibition, and a series of events, while volunteering programme will explore women’s fight for equal rights in the workplace.

It is brilliant that as part of the urban regeneration Barking and Dagenham we are seeing another new venture on our doorstep. I am sure it is the right base for this thrilling new museum.

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