LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - British reality television show “Celebrity Big Brother” launched an all-female line-up on Tuesday involving politicians, a journalist and other performing artists to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote.
The show, versions of which have appeared in a list of other countries, features contestants being locked in a house and given arduous tasks with the public voting to evict them.
Television station Channel 5 said 12 women would join the start of the show including journalist Rachel Johnson, sister of Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson. Names of the other contestants were not being released until the show aired.
The station said the series with an all-female cast was “a salute to a centenary of women’s suffrage” but some male celebrities would enter the house over the course of the series.
“The housemates will take part in a series of entertaining tasks and hidden experiments which will test their - and our - assumptions, challenge gender stereotypes and reveal fascinating truths about what it is to be a woman - and man - in the 21st century,” Channel 5 said in a statement.
The show comes at the start of a year when Britain will host a range of events to mark 100 years since women got the vote after years of battling for equal rights.
Millicent Fawcett, who formed the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in 1897 and spent decades advocating for equal rights including voting rights, is to become the first woman with a statue in London’s Parliament Square.
Fawcett led a peaceful campaign for equal rights including petitions, lobbying members of parliament and non-violent protests. The movement gave rise to more radical suffragettes, whose tactics included hunger strikes, arson and bomb attacks.
Britain granted women aged over 30 who met a property qualification the right to vote in 1918, but it wasn’t until 1928 that all women had the same voting rights as men.
The Royal Mint will launch a 50 pence coin to commemorate the anniversary, the Houses of Parliament will host a gamut of events with the hashtag #vote100, while nearby Westminster Hall will put on a public exhibition “Voice and Vote”.
Reporting by Varsha Saraogi; editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org