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209 Women

1109. Hilary Wood

Hilary Wood, from Essex, is the founder of ‘209 Women’, a ground-breaking photography project which has replaced the entire contemporary art collection at the Palace of Westminster with new photos of the 209 women MPs.

Coordinated by Hilary on a voluntary basis, the portraits were shot exclusively by women photographers across the country. Hilary created the first image of the series of Alison McGovern MP, who was inspired by her own experience of working in a male-dominated field to champion the initiative as a way of celebrating the progress that has been made in politics and to improve the visibility of women in Westminster. The ‘209 Women’ exhibition began on 14th December, 100 years to the day from when some women were able to vote for the first time, and following its display in Parliament will travel to the Open Eye Gallery Liverpool, to be exhibited in partnership with ‘Culture Liverpool’.

In a personal letter to Hilary, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I was honoured to be a part of the ‘209 Women’ project and to celebrate the contributions women have made in Parliament over the last century. Through your exhibition, you have created a powerful tribute to women in politics, which will help inspire generations to come.  I wish you every success with taking your exhibition on tour following its display in Westminster.”

Hilary said:

“I’m so delighted. It is a great honour to be recognised by the Prime Minister with this Points of Light award, I have worked on ‘209 Women’ with many incredible women and I am very proud of what we have achieved. I have two daughters and I wanted this initiative to be part of changing things so that they grow up in a society that is more gender equal. Although the suffrage movement achieved the first votes for women, there is still a long way to go to cement a culture of true gender equality across all spheres of society in the UK, particularly in positions of power. I hope that this exhibition will make people consider how they can address gender inequalities in their own lives.”

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