Thousands to march in Capital to mark suffragette success

WAVING scarves of green, white and violet, the women of Edinburgh will parade through the city centre '“ creating the largest mass participation of artwork made up of women ever seen in the UK.

The statue of women's suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett is the first monument of a woman and the first designed by a woman, Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing OBE, to take a place in parliament Square. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

As part of a special procession to celebrate 100 years since women first got the vote women and girls of any age are invited to help create “a river of colour” in tandem with women on processions in Cardiff, Belfast and London.

Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government and Event Scotland have announced a funding partnership to give the event a boost of £110k which they hope will raise awareness of the on-going issues of inequality experienced by women and girls today.

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Taking place on June 10, the event will be run by leading arts charity Artichoke commissioned by 14-18 NOW – the UK’s arts programme for the First Wold War centenary.

Artichoke CEO Helen Marriage said: “We are delighted that the four key statutory 
bodies in Scotland have chosen to fund this artwork and mark this historic anniversary when the first British women got the vote.

“It will be a moment to celebrate what has been achieved for women as well as to recognise how far there is still to go.”

The procession could take place along Princes Street mimicking a march in 1909, in which several thousand people took part in a mass suffragettes demonstration.

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, said: “On June 10, thousands of women and girls will unite in Edinburgh to process, carry banners and fly the flag for women’s rights.

“Together, we will commemorate the incredible perseverance and bravery of those women who fought for the right to vote and marched through the city’s streets 100 years ago. It will be a chance for us to reflect on how far we’ve come and what’s still left to fight for, and I hope to see people of all ages from all walks of life and nationalities take part.

“The council is so pleased to support such an inspiring event and I hope a key take away will be a renewed interest in registering to vote.”

VisitScotland’s Paul Bush said: “EventScotland is proud to be supporting the mass participatory artwork as it takes to the streets of Edinburgh to celebrate this important anniversary.

“British women’s right to vote was a significant moment in our civic history and processions will be a wonderful opportunity for the women and girls of Scotland to come together to celebrate the occasion and all the change that proceeded from it.”

To join the event or take part in a banner making workshop, register at

Claire Byers, Creative Scotland said: “In echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign, the banner-making workshops and procession have the power to serve as a live portrait of modern women, and a visual expression of equality, diversity, and inclusion in contemporary Scotland.”

It’s often quoted, and it’s true, that Edinburgh has more statues of animals than of named and identifiable women.

We’ve got men (fictional and real), dogs, giraffes, and bears.

But those with two X chromosomes are rather conspicuous by their absence. The only two real-life women who boast a statue in their likeness are “Craigmillar heroine” Helen Crummy and Queen Victoria.

We have a rich and inspiring history of women in this city who should and could be more celebrated.

And in 2017, we shared the story of pioneering suffragist doctor Elsie Inglis, who was instrumental in setting up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals during the First World War.

In a joint campaign supported by city tour company Mercat Tours, who has made it their cause of the year, with Lord Provost Frank Ross and Edinburgh-based charity One City Trust we aim to raise the £50,000 necessary to build the statue that Dr Elsie Inglis rightly deserves.