Day: May 22, 2014

Why you should be voting in the UK today

‘It is our duty to make this world a better place for women.’

Christabel Pankhurst

Regular readers of this blog will have probably realised that I have fairly strong political views, particularly on the subject of women’s rights. However, I don’t want to use this blog to ram my political beliefs down people’s throats. However, I do want to make the point that voting today is crucial – particularly if you are a woman. Your hard won vote should not be thrown away. Because it really was hard won.

Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst

Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst

It wasn’t until 1918 that voting rights were granted to some women in this country, and even then it was only women over thirty who met minimum property qualifications. It was 1928 before all women over the age of 21 could vote. 1928! That’s not even a century ago. Some of you reading this will have parents and grandparents that were alive then. It’s not that long ago. Can you imagine how that felt? How women must have truly felt like second class citizens? So worthless and unimportant that they weren’t even allowed to help choose who would have power over them? To choose who would make the decisions that would shape their lives?

I’m not going to go on about the suffragettes, except to remind anyone who is not voting today that these brave, selfless women were imprisoned, force-fed, beaten and sexually abused. And of course, Emily Wilding Davison was killed at the Epsom Derby on 4th June 1913, when she stepped in front of the King’s horse. These women were true heroes, willing to risk their liberty and put themselves in harm’s way in order to secure equality.

Emily Wilding Davison trampled by the King's horse

Emily Wilding Davison trampled by the King’s horse

I know it is easy to become disillusioned with politics and politicians, and you may feel that you genuinely don’t agree with any party or individual who is standing for election. If you think this, I would urge you to think again. Read the manifestos – most of them are online and it really won’t take long. I was surprised to find that I did agree with every single one of the policies in one manifesto I read – and it definitely wasn’t UKIP! It’ll take you about half an hour to make up your mind, and probably about half an hour to pop out to the polling station and vote. An hour of your day at the most. Surely you can spare that? After all, it’s a rather small sacrifice compared to the sacrifices these women made. Sacrifices made on your behalf, for you, so you could exercise your freedom. A freedom they didn’t have.