Blog: How Trust Housing Association is celebrating the fight for equality and women’s suffrage

This year, organisations across the country are celebrating the centenary year of the legislation that first gave some women the right to vote. Trust Housing Association is celebrating the progress made and discussing the equality agenda at a range events as part of the EqualiTeas engagement campaign.

Trust Housing Association is a national housing, support and care provider, offering a range of accommodation and support services. Our primary purpose is to serve older people in our communities, and we provide and maintain homes for more than 2,500 people across 23 local authority areas - from Stornoway to Stranraer.

Our EqualiTeas tea parties are taking place across Scotland, from Airdrie to Helmsdale and from Ayr to Edinburgh. Our tenants will be exploring what democratic equality means to them today and recognising the work of the campaigners that led the way for change.

Many will be aware that Scottish women played a leading role in the campaign that 100 years ago led to the legislation allowing some women to vote for the first time, and 90 years ago led to the legislation that allowed women to vote in an election on the same terms as men. In fact, such was the passion of these women that Winston Churchill himself was forced to take refuge in a shed after encountering them in Dundee.

Edinburgh was among the areas to have some of the earliest suffrage societies, and tea played a key role in facilitating political action; in fact tea rooms were hotbeds of political activism, allowing women a safe space away from home to plan their activities.

We are an organisation that is proud to be a leader on equality issues, so this June I encourage people right across Scotland to take a moment to recognise the achievements we’ve made so far, but remember that engaging in our democratic life and institutions is not just something that improves the democratic process in itself, but also helps to repay the debt left to us by of those suffrage pioneers – they would expect nothing less.

  • Rhona McLeod is CEO of Trust Housing Association
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