Have a cup of Equali-Tea

(March 01, 2018)

To mark 90 years since all men and women over 21 gained the right to vote, Sir Mark is inviting everyone in Preston to sign-up to EqualiTeas to share, debate, and celebrate what equality means to them over a cup of tea.

 equaliteas logo


EqualiTeas will take place between 18 June and 2 July 2018, as part of the centenary of The Representation of the People Act 1918.  Sir Mark would like to encourage community groups, schools and workplaces to get involved by organising their own events or by taking part in one of the many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week.

Everyone who registers an event on the EqualiTeas website ( will receive a free pack of resources, including an EqualiTeas board game. Visit Parliament’s resource page for help with ideas, planning and publicising your event.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history. Ten years later The Representation of the People Act 1928, gave all men and women over 21 the right to vote. These acts followed years of campaigning, with the first petition to Parliament asking for votes for women was presented to the House of Commons on 3 August 1832.

Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism. It was one of the few ways women could meet without men to discuss and plan. The leading suffrage organisations used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money. But, events do not have to be a tea party, just an event or activity that brings people together to discuss equality, and anyone can hold an EqualiTeas tea party, whether it is big or small, private or public, inside or out.

Sir Mark said: “The Representation of the People Act 1928 was a vital step towards the rights women and men have today and these anniversaries are an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we’ve come.

Preston has an important place in the history of the suffrage movement as Edith Rigby, who lived in Winckley Square, formed the Preston Branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1907.  She marched to Parliament a year later with fellow suffragettes, the Pankhurst sisters. 

“We all know that there is still more to do when it comes to equality in Britain and EqualiTeas is an excellent opportunity to reach out to our communities and share our ideas for an even more equal society, while celebrating the strides we have already made.

“I look forward to working with people across Preston to ensure we create an even more equal society.”

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said “There are many opportunities for schools, workplaces and community groups across Preston to get involved in these key anniversaries.

“We can only work towards a more equal society by communicating with each other and building stronger communities, so please sign up for EqualiTeas to share the things we have in common and debate the changes we would like to see.”

The Vote 100 programme includes a wide range of events and activities commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality. Parliament has also released a series of hard-hitting films to highlight how four key acts changed the lives of women as part of its Your Story, Our History series.

There will be a major exhibition in Parliament – “Voice and Vote” – as well as an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament, and a number of UK-wide events, such as UK Parliament Week 2018.


International Women’s Day is on Thursday, March 8, and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

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