Qualification of Women (County and Borough Councils) Act 1907

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This Act of Parliament (7 Edw. VII) clarified the right of certain women ratepayers to be elected to Borough and County Councils in England and Wales. It followed years of uncertainty and confusion, which included challenges in the courts when women first tried to stand for the London County Council.

Women had been elected to separate boards dealing with the Poor Law and the 1870 Education Act and were entitled to serve on the new urban and rural district councils from 1894. Women had lost their influence on education boards when the free-standing boards were absorbed into newly established councils. Women had also lost places when towns grew and obtained Borough status. The 1907 Act gave widows and unmarried women the right to stand anywhere in local government.

The first female councillor in England was Sarah Elizabeth Woodward, elected in Bewdley.

References[edit]

Hollis, Patricia, Ladies Elect: Women in English Local Government 1865-1914, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987