Labour councillors will mark and celebrate the first female Councillor elected in Rotherham at the Full Council meeting being held later today. Councillor Mary MacLagen was our first female councillor elected to represent Clifton ward in 1924. Labour’s Cllr Emma Hoddinott and Cllr Lyndsay Pitchley will present a motion at today’s Full Council meeting marking this moment in our town’s history and to also call for a plaque for Mary Maclagen as a permanent tribute to her.
Councillor Mary MacLagen was elected in 1924 to represent Clifton ward for what was then the Rotherham County Borough. Our motion today explains that Mary was an active feminist and was secretary of the Rotherham Branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. In this year which marks the 100th anniversary of when the first women gained the right to vote in the UK in 1918, this is an important time to reflect and celebrate Rotherham’s first female councillor.
Our motion today also reflects that it was a further 19 years after Mary’s election that Rotherham had its’ first female Mayor, Councillor F. L. Green in 1943. The first female Member of Parliament for Rotherham was Sarah Champion elected in 2012 and Rotherham Council’s first female Chief Executive, Sharon Kemp, was appointed in 2015 as well.
Cllr Emma Hoddinott and Cllr Lyndsay Pitchley will also use today’s motion celebrating Mary MacLagen to reflect on how much more still needs to be done for greater gender equality in the UK. Less than a third of MPs are female with more than 90% of limited company executives being male, and in 2017 men still earned 18.4% more than women as well. It is clear more campaigning is needed to tackle these inequalities and our motion calls on women to continue to play an even greater role in our politics.
In this motion, Labour councillor’s will call for a plaque to Councillor Mary Maclagen to be placed in a prominent position in Rotherham Town Hall, to be paid for by public subscription. We will also seek to have a blue plaque for Mary Maclagen’s home on Broom Lane in Rotherham as well. These plaques would act as a permanent tribute to Mary to mark her achievement as Rotherham’s first female councillor and to celebrate this important moment in our town’s history.