I’ve seen on twitter that a new exhibition opened at Open Eye Gallery on the docks in Liverpool. It is entitled 209 Women and it marks 100 years of women suffrage. The exhibition features 209 portraits of the UK’s women MPs, shot entirely by photographers that identify as women. I think the whole idea of this project was amazing and all MPs participated, in a celebration of equality of chances for all peoples in UK. Furthermore, the exhibition is free to visit.
I visited the exhibition this week and I wanted to share it today, as in two days time is International Women’s Day. A day I’ve celebrated as I was used to, from when I was living in Romania, by going out or having a treat like a massage at a SPA. But because in UK is not a day like Mother’s Day, but it is a day that women’s achievements are celebrated, I’ve incorporated that in the celebrations. I’m still going out, but I’m also doing other things, like, in March, only sharing reviews of books written by women on my book blog, Coffee & Books, from cookbooks to politics and fiction.
I looked at all the photographs and they are lovely and very different, because not only the MPs are all different, but the photographers are different too. The cards told the name of the MP, where she was elected, and the name of the photographer, but not of the political party the MP is from. So, I took pictures of photographs I liked more and made a selection, only to be pleasantly surprised that I picked MPs from all major political parties. How lovely is that.
The exhibition has some panels with information and there I saw that 32% of MPs are women. They made a comparison with the total of the population, where women are 51%. It’s still a way to go, but 100 years ago women weren’t even allowed to vote, and now they form an important part of the political arena. I think is extraordinary. Also, if you look at the pictures I’ve shared, you’ll see that there are women of different ages and with different skin colours. I think that is something to celebrate too. Even the fact that the photographers are women is important, as 100 years ago there weren’t many of those either.
Two more things should be celebrated, that in 1919 Nancy Astor becomes the first woman in Parliament and in 1979 Margaret Thatcher is the first female Prime Minister, both from the Conservative Party.
Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead, British Conservative Party
I had to start with Theresa May, her role as an elected Prime Minister is paramount and it should be celebrated that UK has its second female Prime Minister in less than 100 years after some women got the right to vote. Besides her, I picked 10 more MPs to show on this post. I picked photographs I liked because of how the women looked in them, happy and smiling. Enjoy.
Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, Scottish National Party
Angela Crawley, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, Scottish National Party
Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, British Conservative Party
Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, British Conservative Party
Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, British Conservative Party
Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, British Labour Party
Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, British Labour
Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, British Labour Party
Liz Saville-Roberts, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru
Helen Whately, MP for the Faversham and Mid Kent, British Conservative Party
Open Eye Gallery is in 19 Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1BP. The 209 Women exhibition is on between 28 February – 14 April 2019.