UK Parliament to Host ‘209 Women’ Photographic Exhibition

13 December 2018

A photographic exhibition opening tomorrow in UK Parliament will showcase portraits of 209 female members of parliament, taken by 209 female photographers.

The photo project, named ‘209 Women’, is being launched to mark 100 years since the passing of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which allowed women over 21 to become MPs on equal terms as men for the first time.

Photographer and academic Hilary Wood founded and curated the project, bringing together the 419 photographers and politicians. She said:

‘The idea for the exhibition came from my own experiences of gender inequality. I’ve worked mainly in male-dominated fields for the past 18 years…Since 1918, 4,503 men have been elected to the UK parliament – compared to just 491 women.

‘On the centenary year of women’s suffrage, I wanted to celebrate how far we’ve come, but I also want to bring awareness to continued gender inequality by championing the visibility of women in power. This exhibition will bring visibility to those women that are part of making the fundamental changes to women’s equality.’

Alison McGovern – MP for Wirral South and one of those involved in an all-female portrait takeover of Parliament – said: ‘The focus in politics has rightly been on getting a critical mass of women involved. But it is the same issue in many sectors, including art itself. The works will show that women can and ought to be portrayed in all their diversity. There is no one way to be a woman artist, to be a woman politician, to be a woman.’

‘209 Women’ will be displayed at Portcullis House, from 14th December to 14 February 2019.  The exhibition is open to the public on non-sitting Fridays.  Tickets are free and available for booking on Parliament’s website subject to availability.  The exhibition will then travel north to the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, for display from 28 February to 14 April. 

Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, by Hilary Wood

Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, by Polly Penrose

Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, by Alice Zoo

Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, by Julia Fullerton-Batten

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, by Reme Campos

Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, by Rachel Louise Brown

Liz Kendall by Laura Hynd

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, by Jane Hilton

Priti Patel, MP for Witham, by Rhiannom Adam

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, by Lottie Davies

Feature image: Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, by Hannah Starkey