SACRIFICES made by women who battled for equality and the right to vote should never be taken for granted, Hampshire’s top police officer has said.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney praised the efforts of those who helped to give women a voice on the political stage 100 years ago.
Her words come after Portsmouth rallied to mark the achievements of Hertha Ayrton yesterday on the centenary anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
Mrs Pinkney – who is the first woman to lead Hampshire’s police force – said: ‘They were the ones who just kept chipping away for years. It’s easy to forget that when we’re celebrating 100 years today.
‘But it was years in the making of hard graft, of argument, of healthy debate and of challenge, to get that significant difference now that we all enjoy and we should never take for granted.’
Mrs Pinkney paid tribute to the work of Portsmouth scientist Hertha, who was a leading figure in the suffragette movement.
Speaking from the site of Hertha’s former home in Queen Street, Portsea, Mrs Pinkney said: ‘We all stand on the shoulders of people like Hertha and others who came before us.
‘It’s just fantastic to have Hertha commemorated this way in our city.’
She added suffragettes helped to blaze the trail for women to join the police force.
‘All parts of public life are too important to only leave to half of our community,’ said Mrs Pinkney. ‘We should absolutely have everyone – their talents, their interests, their backgrounds – represented and active in our communities and our society.
‘I hope she would look around British society today and think, “yeah, there are active women in all parts of life, opportunities are there for young women as there are for men” and I hope she’d be proud of what she achieved.’