,(EDITS 06/06/2016: As you’ll see, I wrote this post for last year’s General Election but with the EU Referendum just around the corner I feel these points definitely still stand. You have til tomorrow to register to vote to have your say for what is likely to be one of the biggest decisions we’ll make for this country in our lifetimes.)
The UK General Election is fast approaching.
You have until just midnight tonight to register to vote.
And right now, approximately 7.5 million people haven’t bothered to do that yet.
You may not be politically minded, you might not believe anything any politician ANYWHERE has to say – but if you do care about what happens to your hospitals, schools, crime, immigration, who looks after the elderly, what jobs are out there, how much you get paid in those jobs, I could go on… then your vote means something.
I for one will be voting, because at least one party out there has to convince me that they care about what I care about – that gives you, the voter, more power than you think.
On the run up to any election, women in particular are hit with a lot of reasons as to why their vote matters so much.
The no. 1 reason, of course, falls down to early 20th Century Suffragette movements – when women actually died for your right to vote.
Less than one hundred years ago women were throwing themselves in front of horses, chaining themselves to buildings and going on hunger strike, all so you could also walk to your local polling station come May 7th and tick a few boxes. If that doesn’t make you feel bad, I don’t know what will.
Still, the female presence within politics remains ridiculously low.
9.1 million women didn’t turn out in the 2010 elections and with figures suggesting women aged between 18 and 24 are the least likely of all to vote in this years election – there doesn’t seem to have been much positive change in the last 5 years.
So lets simplify why this is such a problem…
If women don’t bother to vote, Parliament won’t be bothered about women.
If you put aside your views on politicians, whatever they may be, it is clear to see that the main driving force behind any campaign is power. Being in charge of our country is a powerful position. To gain that position a politician needs your votes.
So imagine how much a mass female turnout would motivate political parties to put women’s issues smack bang in the middle of their agendas.
It might be equal pay, stronger rape laws, tackling domestic violence, longer maternity leave, even VAT-free tampons – take your pick, any issue that affects women both in and outside of the UK will only be addressed by politicians if they can see their voters want these changes.
This is why women need to vote.
You may not think your vote makes a difference, and sure, it won’t automatically right every wrong out there, but there is no change in keeping your voice unheard.