Mary Macleod is the Member of Parliament for Brentford & Isleworth. Follow Mary on Twitter.
In two weeks’ time, it will be Derby Day. Perhaps a good time to remember - as you sip your Pimm’s and huddle under your brolly - that 100 years before, in 1913, Emily Wilding Davison fell under King George V’s horse Anmer on Derby Day, sustaining injuries which caused her death. Her tactics were controversial, but her aims were pure: she was a militant suffragette devoted to the emancipation of women and the cause of equality.
Despite Miss Davison’s death, women didn’t get the vote in the UK until 1918, when women over the age of 30 who met minimum certain property qualifications were enfranchised. And it wasn’t until 1928 that all women over 21 got the vote, bringing equality at last with men.
Of course, equality isn’t just about being able to vote. Further legislation was required to ensure gender equality in action: the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, and as recently as three years ago, the Equality Act 2010. Still that’s all done and dusted now isn’t it? Well, incredibly (in my opinion), no it’s not.
Because in 2013, there are still women whose inequality is enshrined in law. Whose situation is not only troubling and surprising, but also carries worrying implications for the validity of the constitutional process.