22 July, 2018

First-ever Millicent Fawcett Mile to be held at the Muller Anniversary Games

The first ever women’s Millicent Fawcett Mile will bring the Müller Anniversary Games to a finale today (22 July), commemorating 100 years since British women first secured the right to vote.

 

Millicent Fawcett was an instrumental force in securing the women’s vote, campaigning tirelessly to improve women’s opportunities in the early 20th Century.

Fawcett was President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (the NUWSS) from 1907 until her death in 1919, a year after the first British women were finally given universal suffrage.

The NUWSS was the largest organisation campaigning for female suffrage at the time, with 50,000 members, and Fawcett’s powerful and peaceful mass campaign was instrumental in securing the first voting rights for women in 1918.

Fawcett’s work and her legacy has continued ever since and today, the Fawcett Society has 3,500 members who continue to fight for gender equality and women’s rights.

Earlier this year, Millicent Fawcett became the first woman to be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square, and, just a few months later, history will be made again as the first ever Millicent Fawcett Mile takes place at the Müller Anniversary Games.

The Millicent Fawcett Mile looks set to be one of the key events of Sunday’s competition, with Laura Muir targeting Zola Budd’s 33-year-old record (4:17.57); a record she came agonisingly close to breaking 12 months ago.

A year later, Muir is back with the record in her sights and will have the chance of becoming the first athlete to sign their name in the Millicent Fawcett signature book and claim the trophy.

The Briton will, however, be joined by a stellar field, including 5000m world champion and last year’s mile winner, Hellen Obiri, along with world medallists Jenny Simpson and Sifan Hassan.

Hester Waterfield, Community and Fundraising Manager at the Millicent Fawcett Society, said:

“The Fawcett Society is delighted that British Athletics has chosen Millicent Fawcett as the lead name for the introduction of a Women’s Mile at the Müller Anniversary Games in the London Stadium. 

“Millicent Fawcett’s vital contribution to women’s suffrage and the fight for equal rights is testament to her steadfastness and courage and shows what one woman can achieve on behalf of all women.”

Cherry Alexander MBE, Major Events Director at British Athletics, said:

“All women owe a great deal to Millicent Fawcett and it is a huge honour for British Athletics to name the women’s mile after this incredibly inspirational woman, especially 100 years after her courage, determination and tireless work came to fruition as the first British women secured the right to vote.

“Millicent Fawcett has been largely forgotten despite playing a huge role in securing women the vote. If it wasn’t for her, life for many of the athletes competing at the Müller Anniversary Games would be very different.”

The first ever Millicent Fawcett Mile will bring the 2018 Müller Anniversary Games to a close at 15:49.