In comments made to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison, who was protesting at the Derby, chief executive of the Fawcett Society Ceri Goddard stated gender equality has been moving at a “snail’s pace”.
On June 4th 1913, Davison stepped out in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby and was killed as a result of her injuries. She was protesting over women’s rights at the event.
Goddard stated Davison and fellow campaigners such as Millicent Fawcett would be “staggered” by the slow pace of change within society today.
She noted that men still outnumber women four to one in Parliament, with only four women in a Cabinet made up of 23 politicians. It was also pointed out by the Fawcett Society chief executive that the UK ranks only 58th in the world in terms of women’s representation.
“The lack of women in Westminster and in town halls around the country amounts to a democratic deficit; the views and experiences of one half of the country are not being properly considered in the corridors of power,” said Goddard.
She said this is not only a bad thing for women, it is damaging to society, as it continues to be shaped by an “elite minority of men”.
There are also differences between what the sexes earn – despite a law against paying men more than women for the same jobs – as well as the career options available to women, their experiences of violence, their social expectations and how they are portrayed.
Some 15 years after the death of Emily Wilding Davison, women were finally given the right to vote in one of the UK’s biggest ever steps towards gender equality.
In 1984, the Equal Pay Act said women ought to earn the same as men for doing the same jobs, while the Equality Act built on those foundations was passed in 2010.