12 NOVEMBER 2018

100 Years From Suffrage:
All-Female Photographic Portrait Takeover in Parliament

The Sorority is proud to be an official partner for 209 Women.

To mark 100 years since some women achieved the right to vote, an all-female photography initiative is creating new portraits of all 209 women MPs, shot exclusively by women photographers. These will be displayed in a free public exhibition in Parliament at Portcullis house, opening on 14 December — 100 years to the day that the first women cast their votes in the 1918 general election. The report explores the value of investing in women, how women on boards boosts business performance and much more.

‘209 Women’ is a national artist-led project to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage and champion the visibility of women, particularly in environments that are still largely male-dominated. A collective of 209 women photographers from all across the UK has formed, volunteering their time to make and mark history.

Hilary Wood, Founder and Curator, said:
“The idea for the exhibition came from my own experiences of gender inequality. I’ve worked mainly in male-dominated fields for the past 18 years. I’ve got two daughters and I wanted to be part of changing things so that they grow up in a society that is more gender equal. Since 1918, 4,503 men have been elected to the UK parliament – compared to just 491 women. On the centenary year of women’s suffrage, I wanted to celebrate how far we’ve come, but I also want to bring awareness to continued gender inequality by championing the visibility of women in power. This exhibition will bring visibility to those women that are part of making the fundamental changes to women’s equality.”

The project is presented in association with luxury brand Aston Martin Lagonda and Power of Women Series, and supported by Montessori St Nicholas. It is delivered in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool City Council, The Royal Photographic Society and The Sorority. The core team behind the exhibition is Hilary Wood (Founder/Director of ‘209 Women’ and photographer), Tracy Marshall (Director of Development and Partnerships at Open Eye Gallery) , Cheryl Newman (Artist, curator and former Director of Photography of the Telegraph magazine) and Lisa Tse (Brand Consultant, TV Producer and founder of women’s club The Sorority), and is supported by Ambassador Rosemary Reed, Executive Producer and Founder of Power of Women series).

Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, said:
“This exhibition, 209 Women, is an opportunity to have all current women MPs overlook Portcullis House, an integral part of the Westminster estate, where so much networking and political decisions are made. The exhibition will for once put women centre stage, acting as a reminder to never leave women out of the equation, on behalf of all citizens but particularly the 51% of the population who have been so unequally represented. To represent and be presented for what we are – as women, by women – is a very special thing. This is what 209 women is all about.”

Lisa Tse, Founder and President of The Sorority said:
“Sorority members are iconic inspirational women from around the world and The Sorority is proud to support 209 Women. It is a vital project in representing the women in power and celebrating the centenary of women achieving the right to vote.”

On 14 December 1918 women voted for the first time, and in the same year the first female MP was elected. Launching 14 December 2018, ‘209 Women’ marks that significant moment in history whilst also highlighting the ongoing need for further gender equality across society.

‘209 Women’ will be displayed at Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament, from 14th December to February 2019. After that, it will travel North to Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool.

Image credit: Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford by Hannah Starkey


Download the Press Release (3.6MB PDF)