WOMEN across the Black Country will be celebrating 100 years of having the vote at a special party in Dudley this weekend.

The ‘Dudley Pankhurst Party’ is one of hundreds of events taking place across the country on Sunday (July 15) to mark the birthday of the great suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and the centenary of women being granted the right to vote.

After meeting at the Black Country Museum at 8am, the Dudley party will march to Dudley Council House to lay a wreath on behalf of the political activist.

As well as celebrating an important historical milestone of women getting the partial vote, the event will be designed to encourage more women to take up the challenge first issued by Emmeline and her fellow suffragettes a century ago and get more women involved in politics.

Despite 100 years of women’s suffrage, the numbers of women in politics at all levels is still low, as more than two thirds of MPs are men. While in local government 70 per cent of councillors are male.

The national organiser of the Pankhurst Parties, Fleur Butler, said she hoped the nationwide events would inspire more women to come forward for election at all levels of government.

Fleur said: “We need more women to take part in public life as councillors, school governors, MPs, assembly members, mayors, police and crime commissioners, MSPs and magistrates.

“We want women not just to vote but to stand for public office as well.”

During the events, advice will be given to those interested in the different ways to enter public life across all political parties.

The Dudley party organiser, Natalie Neale, said she was looking forward to Sunday’s event, adding: “It is a non-political event and we invite other women to celebrate and those who may be interested in becoming involved in public office and women’s organisations.

“It’s not good enough that women got the vote 100 years ago if we still let men speak for us.

“We want to find out how many women are locally wanting to do more but don’t know how to start, so that they have the courage to put that first foot forward.”