‘209 Women’ is a national artist-led project founded by Hilary Wood that aims to champion the visibility of women, particularly in male-dominated environments.
One hundred years after women first gained the right to sit in Parliament as MPs, the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art will host the ‘209 Women’ exhibition from 14 December 2018 to 14 February 2019.
209 Women: Meet the Female MPs
Unveiled in time for the anniversary of the first election where some women could cast a vote, the exhibition includes portraits of female MPs, all photographed by female photographers in an all-female initiative. The exhibition will hang in Westminster and will be curated by Hilary Wood (Founder/Director of ‘209 Women’ and photographer), Tracy Marshall (Director of Development and Partnerships at Open Eye Gallery), Cheryl Newman (Artist, curator and former Director of Photography of the Telegraph magazine) and Lisa Tse (Brand Consultant, TV Producer and founder of women’s club The Sorority).
February 6, 2018 marked exactly 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, with Parliament starting a year-long series of events and exhibitions commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality. November 21 marks 100 years since the passing of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which allowed women over 21 to become MPs on equal terms as men for the first time. The third centenary falls on 14 December, a hundred years on from the 1918 General Election when some women over 30 and all men over 21 were able to cast their first vote.
‘209 Women’ marks this significant moment in history whilst also highlighting the ongoing need for further gender equality across society. A collective of women photographers from all across the UK formed, volunteering their time to make and mark history, celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage and championing the visibility of women, particularly in environments that are still largely male-dominated.
‘In a world where images are our main currency, women are taking back control of their own image after centuries of the male gaze. Female photographers have never been so plentiful and our visual culture so rich. It is important to have highly visually intelligent images of highly intelligent women by highly intelligent and talented female photographers – out there in full view for all the world to see. This is how we change the culture – I’d like to be a part of that.’ – Hannah Starkey, photographer
When & Where? ‘209 Women’ will be displayed at Portcullis House 14 December 2018 – 14 February 2019, and free tickets are available on Parliament’s website. The exhibition will then travel to the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. ‘209 Women’ is delivered in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool City Council, the Royal Photographic Society and The Sorority.