AT a time when gender equality is making headlines around the world, a petition has been launched to ensure the achievements of women are fairly represented in the school curriculum.

Bishop Auckland councillor Joy Allen believes all schoolchildren should be taught about women’s fight for equality, both historically and in the present day. She is also calling on the Government to do more to promote inspirational women across the curriculum, from maths and science, to art, music and history.

It comes as events are held across the country to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some British women the vote for the first time. In Bishop Auckland, Cllr Allen worked alongside volunteers to organise a march through the town centre, followed by speeches and readings. Men and women of all ages took part, with many dressing up in the Suffragette colours of purple, green and white.

Cllr Allen said: “It’s shameful that our children are not getting a balanced curriculum. For far too long women and their achievements have been overlooked in favour of men’s. This is not so surprising given the fact that the majority of history books and records have been authored by men. This is about ensuring women are fairly represented. This is something that will benefit boys and girls.”

Cllr Allen’s comments echo those made by other equality campaigners in recent years. In 2015, student June Eric-Udorie launched a petition for feminism to be added to the A level politics curriculum after it was dropped as a named topic.The petition gained more than 46,000 signatures and led to the inclusion of more female political thinkers within the syllabus . However, concerns have also been raised about the under representation of women in other key subjects, including English literature and music.

Cllr Allen needs 10,000 signatures to receive a response from the Government, and 100,000 signatures for it to be debated by parliament.

The Labour councillor and Durham County Council cabinet member said: “All it takes is a few clicks and you are helping bring about change. There are 500,000 people in County Durham. If one fifth of the population signs the petition this issue will be discussed in parliament.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are giving teachers the freedom so they can deliver lessons that will excite and inspire their pupils.

“Good schools already teach their pupils about key moments in British history, including the Suffragette movement, and are highlighting the bravery and successes of women from all walks of life and ages in history.”

To sign the petition, visit