#MAKE IT COUNT
In the recent EU referendum, young women aged 18-24 were the least likely to vote.
Such decisions arguably have a greater effect on the younger generation; for example impacting their ability to work, study or live abroad. These women deserve and need to make their voices heard.
The march in January brought together women of different ages and backgrounds; the collective voice of 100,000 people. It was powerful. It was inspiring. And for many women, it was the start of their political engagement.
Over the last 100 Days, women have continued to stay engaged, writing letters to their MP’s, forming huddles within their communities and attending vigils standing as a symbol of hope in the face of fear, division and hatred. The calling of the General Election is a fantastic opportunity.
In 2015 only 43% of 18-24 year old voted. Women's March London urge young women in particular to register and use their hard won right to vote- to make it count. It's been less than 100 years since women were granted equal voting rights. In fact women have had this right for less than a century almost every single country on the globe.
Let's ensure the voices of the fearless women who have gone before us continue to resound loudly in the decades to come .
We ask women over 24 to play a part in encouraging the younger women in their lives to register and vote, for many it will be the first time exercising their democratic rights. It can seem daunting, but the importance of voting cannot be overstated.
Over the next four weeks, Women’s March London we will be working through events and social media outreach to ensure that women register to vote before 22nd May and cast their ballots on 8th June in the General Election, continuing to engage and make their voices heard.
WHY SHOULD WE VOTE?
Text from Fawcett Society's Voter's Manifesto
New Fawcett Society analysis of recent polling data finds that a ‘missing eight million’ women say that they aren’t necessarily going to vote in the 2017 general election. An average of recent polling shows that 2.5% points fewer women than men say they are certain to vote. When applied to 2015 turnout levels this could see 8 million women not exercising their rights, half a million more than the 7.5 million men who are not certain they’ll vote.
With the deadline for voter registration only two weeks away on the 22nd May, Fawcett also find that there is a gender gap in registration, with 2.5% points fewer women than men saying that they are currently on the register to vote in June.
(Read the full Fawcett Society Women's Voting manifesto)
Text from Voting Counts.org
1. It gives you the power to create change.
Voting gives you the power to decide how the UK is run. If you have a complaint about the way the country is being run, voting is a way simple you can make a change. You can choose a candidate to suit to your views and they can represent your views at a national and local level. It’s not the only way to participate but it’s the quickest and easiest way!
2. Get politicians working for young adults.
It is an unfortunate truth that politicians will sometimes look at voter turnout before making key policy decisions. If a certain demographic‘s turnout is high then politicians may be more likely to make policy that benefits that demographic in order to please them and subsequently win their votes from other parties or retain their support.
Did you know? According to IPSOS Mori more than 78% of over 65s voted in 2015, compared to only 43% of 18-24 year olds (source).
3. Voting is important even if you don’t think your candidate will win.
Living in a safe seat constituency doesn’t mean your vote won’t make a difference. The constituency of Crewe & Nantwich was a safe seat for over 25 years until 2008. If everyone just ‘gives up’ change will never happen.
Also supporting other candidates means that they won’t lose their deposit (the money they put down to appear on the ballot paper, which they will lose if they don’t receive enough votes) and can continue to fight elections in your area.
Furthermore, the electoral system will never change to benefit third parties if only voters for the main parties turn out to vote, if you want to see a change then you must show that there is demand for other parties to be represented.
Parties are also awarded ‘Short Money‘ (funding) depending on the number of overall votes they receive.
4. Many movements have campaigned to give you the right to vote.
Many campaigners within movements, such as the women’s suffrage movement, even gave their lives, some say it is disrespectful to them to waste your vote. The UK has seen a number of campaigns to spread voting rights over its history. (Read More)
5. MPs represent your local area in parliament and solve issues for local people.
Voting enables you to help decide who represents your local area in parliament, it’s their job to raise local issues and support you as much as they can. You can go to them and ask for advice on certain issues or ask them to promote an issue in parliament.
By voting you can select the person you want to represent you and help them keep their job, or by voting for other candidates you can help remove an incumbent.
6. Voting is a way to show support for Electoral Reform.
The Electoral System we have will never change if you don’t speak out. There have been many calls to change the First Past the Post electoral system to a proportionally representative one. If you would like to see this change it is important to prove that smaller parties have the support, this will give them mandate to call for reform.
7. You can leave your ballot blank if you do not agree with any of the political parties.
Of course, if you don’t feel aligned to any of the political parties then there is Blank Voting. Staying at home just makes you another statistic, it is presumed you are just uninterested, by actively going to the polling station and not selecting any candidate before submitting to the ballot box, you become a voice for the disengaged. Blank Votes and Spoiled Ballots are read out at the count, along with the results and are also included in subsequent reports. Your apathy towards the political parties will be heard not just forgotten.
WHO SHOULD I VOTE FOR?
We can't tell you which political party to vote for, but we can ask you to vote according to your conscience on pressing social, environmental, financial, scientific and political issues. If you'd like to know our take on these, feel free to browse our Guiding Principles page.
If you're not sure what each party is offering, and whether its manifesto squares with your stance on a given topic, why not take the 2017 General Election political alignment quiz, created by ISideWith.com.
You can scroll through the entire quiz within this window (not available on mobile devices).
I'M A STUDENT, WHERE SHOULD I VOTE?
Students have the option of voting within their home or university address constituencies.
Where will your vote make the most impact? Use this handy tool provided by ge2017.com
- A History of Women and the Vote -produced by Parliament.uk
- Why Girls' and Young Women's voices matter during Election Time -produced by Girl Guiding UK