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Women of Britain, never waste your right to vote. Today is the LAST POSSIBLE DAY for you to register to vote in the 2015 General Election. If you are choosing not to vote, you are taking for granted a right that the suffragettes fought, died and starved for in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) were, like many women today, frustrated by their political and social situation but rather than adopting a passive attitude, they spent years campaigning to bring women the vote.
If you are choosing to opt out of the elections and choosing not to have a glance at the parties’ manifestos with the simple dismissal that ‘they are all the same’ when it comes to politicians, you are disrespecting a right that we have gained from women who have endured great suffering for it. Politicians may all appear to be the same on the surface and it is no wonder we feel misrepresented by them when we have a parliament where only 22.7% of MPs are female but if you are choosing not to vote, it means that the voice of women won’t be heard. Compare the last four years to the previous ones you will notice a difference between your disposable income, education and public services. According to Fawcett, the UK’s leading charity for gender equality, since the General Election in 2010, women have been left poorer (with 74% of £22bn of austerity ‘savings’ coming from women’s pockets), earning less (with women making up the majority of the increasing low-paid workers and with the value of low pay declining), over-burdened (due to vital services such as childcare and elderly support being cut, leaving women to carry the weight and compromising on their careers in the process) more vulnerable (due to lacking of funding for services supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence) and less independent (as a result of women’s financial security being affected with benefits being cut). You have the power to choose between the kind of country you are living in and the kind of country that you want to live in. If you are still not convinced that any of the political parties will bring the changes that you desire, leaving your ballot blank is a much more effective method of protest than not voting at all.
It’s estimated that 7.5 million people currently aren’t registered – make sure you’re not one of them. Fill out the form here by MIDNIGHT TODAY:
Words: Yashi Banymadhub
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham