This Is Why You Are Voting Today

Sitting in a packed Central Line tube carriage a couple of days ago, I was feeling pretty lucky. Firstly, I had a seat and, secondly, I had some reading material to pass the time on my commute. But the third reason I was feeling lucky was that the particular piece of reading material I had laid my hands on was LOOK magazine, and the piece I was reading was called ‘We Fought For The Vote – Don’t Waste Yours’.

How could I not feel lucky, living in a country, and at a time, when I have the right to vote – and can do so freely and without intimidation of violence? This realisation struck me as the article detailed the stories of women struggling to vote around the world; Of  Taliban members threatening to cut off the ink-stained fingers Afghani women voting in 2009, of the women of Zimbabwe being beaten and raped for daring to vote in 2008… even, of course, the struggles of women here in the UK fighting to get the vote just less than 100 years ago.

Feeling enormously privileged, I was suddenly reminded that not everyone shares this opinion. A young girl had been reading my mag over my shoulder and questioned her mum, sat across the carriage; “Mum, why are you not voting again?” The answer? “Because I think they’re all full of crap.”

Whilst you could be saddened, as I was, that here was a woman taking her right to vote for granted you could also argue that, well, she does have a point! That’s certainly what a report by fizzy booze brand Lambrini (Yes, really! Although it was using research carried out independently by Opinion Matters) seemed to say, as it told how 1 in 5 women surveyed still don’t know who the main party leaders are, and surmised ‘Policy, not Personality’.

The report, entitled Lambrini Lady – The Lost Political Generation, is written by Steven Fielding who says;

These women care about how the country is run, but not necessarily who runs it. They are a generation of women who hold strong opinions and are very clear about what issues matter to them, but they don’t traditionally vote because they feel ignored by politicians and the political process.

So, basically, such women are actually very politically minded BUT don’t feel that the political world is relevant to them, or values them, and that politicians are… well, full of crap! And can you blame these women? I mean, the face of politics hardly looks female-friendly at the best of times, but then women are excessively (and insincerely) courted when electioneering. And yet, that being said, there is only one way to let politicians know that women do count, and that is by exercising your voice as a woman by voting! If you can’t stand the leaders, ignore the mouthpiece and look to the policies. Which party do you want governing the country? Which best represents you? And then, after the election, keep using your voice by letting your local MP know what concerns and queries you have.

Thankfully, not all women seem to be apathetic ‘Lambrini Ladies‘. LOOK magazine (yes, them again!) carried out a snap survey on their readers last weekend to get a feel for how young women would be voting. Of the 119 readers questioned, aged 18-35, 88% of respondents said that they will definitely vote. Considering only 61% of British women voted in the 2005 election, that’s a really promising glimmer of hope.

Don’t be a ‘Lambrini Lady’ today, get out there and use your right to vote! And use it wisely – if you are still undecided as to how to use your vote, check out these sites;

votematch.org.uk

voteforpolicies.org

theyworkforyou.com

hustings.com

Image from LOOK magazine

By: Sarah Barnes, 06.05.2010 | Comments (0)
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