Today is monumental; it is finally the day of the UK general elections.
According to the UK Polling Report, the last few elections have seen only 60% of the population voting, the remaining 40% including a great deal of students. Young people often underestimate the importance of voting, believing that their role is insignificant and that their vote cannot make a difference.
Your vote does matter.
Every vote counts and if all young people voted, we could make a monumental difference and quite literally change the country.
According to the British Election Study the proportion of young people (18-24 year olds) who are registered to vote has been lower than any other age group since the 1970s. This needs to change and that change needs to happen today.
The Guardian highlights the fact that 35 UK seats had at least a 20% voting population of young people. The fact that over half of these seats won by just 10% emphasises the political power of young people and reminds us that our vote can be a very powerful tool.
We as women should use our vote in particular due to the luxury of having the right to do so. On a day such as this, it is important to remember the struggle that our ancestors endured in order to acquire the right to vote. In the nineteenth century women had no place in the political sector, as candidates or voters. It is thanks to the women’s suffrage campaigns and the determination of the Suffragists and Suffragettes that we as women are allowed in the Norwich Polling Stations today.
These inspirational women fought for our right to vote, engaging in law-breaking, violence and hunger strikes and being arrested, jailed and force-fed in order to gain attention to their cause. In 1913 one fighter of Women’s Suffrage Emily Davison historically threw herself under the King’s horse during the Derby at Epsom Racecourse, later dying from her injuries.
These women literally gave their lives to give us the right to vote, their suffragette motto being ‘deeds not words’. In light of this statement, it is important that we honour these women and use the right to vote that they have earned for us.
A very wise woman once said ‘my vote is my voice…and the voice of all who struggled, so that I may have my voice.’
Get down to your nearest Polling Station collegiettes and cast your vote!