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Programme of events to mark the Suffrage Movement in Wales announced by National Assembly


The first phase in a programme of events to mark the centenary anniversary since the passing of the Representation of People Act 1918 has been announced by the National Assembly.

On 6 March an exhibition which explores the diversity in approach of the various women’s suffrage movements will open in the Senedd. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be a portrait, which is on loan from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, of the 2nd Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1958), also known as Margaret Haig Thomas and Margaret Mackworth.

To complement the exhibition the Senedd will also host two free all day workshops on the 6th and 8th of March. The workshops, which are being delivered in partnership with St Fagan’s Museum and Cardiff University, will feature original banners that were used by the Cardiff & District Women's Suffrage Society during marches and protests in early 1900s.

The exhibition’s launch on 6 March will also see the unveiling of the very first Purple Plaque – a campaign by the Assembly Labour Women’s Group (ALWG) which aims to highlight the achievements of remarkable Welsh women.

The first recipient of a Purple Plaque will be the former Assembly Member and equality campaigner Val Feld, who was one of the leading architects of devolution, played a pivotal role in securing the Government of Wales Act’s equal opportunities provisions, and was also heavily involved in promoting women’s participation in Welsh politics. 

Val died in 2001, just two years after taking her seat in the Assembly as Member for Swansea East.

The Assembly will mark International Women’s Day on 8 March by working with partners to deliver a programme of talks, workshops and performances.

During the day the Pierhead will host the University of South Wales’s Conference Women and Activism in Wales: Past and Present, which will focus on women’s activism through a series of talks and round table discussions. Over lunch, historian Professor Angela John will launch her new book ‘Rocking the Boat: Welsh Women who Championed Equality 1840-1990’, before an event marking the work of Girlguiding Cymru led by Welsh adventurer and ambassador for Girlguiding UK, Tori James.

During the evening, the Senedd will be hosting the 10th annual Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture in partnership with the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of South Wales and the Archif Menywod Cymru/Women’s Archive of Wales.

The lecture will be delivered by Dr Ryland Wallace, author of The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Wales 1866 – 1928.

Prior to the lecture, Welsh National Opera (WNO) will perform an exclusive preview of its new production ‘Rhondda Rips it Up!’, which marks the life of Wales’s most prominent suffragette Lady Rhondda, Margaret Haig Thomas. The performance will be given by Lesley Garrett CBE, Madeleine Shaw and Nicola Rose. A WNO Schools Chorus with children from St Mellons and Willowbrooks Primary School will also perform. ‘Rhondda Rips it Up!’ will receive its world premiere on 7 June this year at The Riverfront in Newport.

Further events will be announced later in the year.

Information on how to attend events will be available from the National Assembly booking line on 0300 200 6565 or by emailing

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