The States Assembly, Jersey’s parliament, has this weekend launched its ‘Are you related?’ appeal as part of its celebrations to mark 100 years since some women were allowed to vote in Jersey. The appeal aims to bring signatures of two [almost] 100-year-old petitions to life by asking friends and relatives to come forward with photos and anecdotes.
The 1924 petitions called for equal civil rights for women in Jersey “now enjoyed by the women in Great Britain and the Island of Guernsey” and for women to be eligible to stand for election. From mothers to grandmothers and aunties to neighbours, did you know one of the signatories? Do you have photos, anecdotes or any other information you can share with the States Assembly to help depict the personal life and experiences of one or more of the signatories? You can search the list of names here. Any information provided will be used for a display at the upcoming ‘100 years of votes for women’ exhibition at the Old Magistrates Court from 9th-20th July.
Deputy Louise Doublet is heading up the ‘100 years of votes for women’ campaign and says, “This is the first time the States Assembly has ever run an appeal like this. We want to honour those strong and courageous individuals who bravely campaigned at a time when women’s civil and political rights were severely restricted. It is in part, due to those individuals, that women such as myself are in the position they are today, and we owe it to them to remember them. We would really like to bring the handwritten names to life – individuals who asked simply that women be treated as equals to men. If you knew one of the signatories and feel comfortable doing so, please come forward with any personal stories, information, documents and never-before-published photos that you feel comfortable with sharing.”
The campaign was organised by the Women’s Jersey Political Union (WJPU) and headed up by Caroline Trachy, who said, “the legal position of women in Jersey has changed very little since the days of William the Conqueror.” In its own words, the WJPU was set up to obtain “full political and civil rights for women in Jersey, embracing legal and moral support to women in difficulties caused by present, unjust laws.” The petitions were successful in allowing women to stand for election; but, in effect, no woman was actually accepted as an eligible candidate for election until 1928, and no woman was successfully elected until 1948.
Hundreds of Islanders signed the petition at a time when women’s civil and political rights were severely restricted, e.g. only some women could vote, women couldn’t stand for election and women couldn’t work as lawyers. Find out more about the ‘Votes for women’ campaign at statesassembly.ogv.je/Votes4Women and please attach any information relating to signatories in an email to Kelly Langdon.