In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s an election coming up in two days. It’s a pretty important one for deciding the future of this country – the NHS, education, Brexit, and security are all big issues and could be dealt with in vastly different ways depending on who we vote for on June 8th.
But I’m not here to tell you how to vote. I just want to you make sure that you do.
Reasons to vote
In case you were wondering why you should bother, here’s a few good reasons:
- Every decision made after the election will affect the course of our lives
- Most people in the world don’t have the right to vote – don’t take it for granted
- To make our voices heard
- To stand up for what we believe in
- To stick it to The Establishment (if that’s your thing)
- Because we’re citizens of this country and it’s our duty to participate
- Going to the polling station and putting an X in a box isn’t exactly tough, is it?
Young women are one of the groups of people least likely to vote in the upcoming election. #SHEvotes really wants that to change. If young women don’t vote, we’re not making our voices heard. We’re not using one of the most powerful ways to tell politicians how we want our country to be governed. And we’re not utilising the power of democracy to bring about change.
The #SHEvotes website has more information on how you can get involved, spread the message, and encourage other young women to vote too.
Women chained themselves to railings, suffered police brutality, starved themselves and jumped in front of horses to win the right to vote. Do them proud and use your vote!
Why aren’t there more female politicians?
Good question. I’m no expert, but it’s probably down to a multitude of factors, including: social bias from a young age leading many girls to believe that they aren’t suitable for a career in politics; how female politicians are vilified in the press; gender bias within political parties; and online abuse. If you’ve got time, you can read more about why there aren’t more women in British Politics at the Political Studies Association.
The good news is, the number of female politicians is on the rise. In the last election in 2015, 26% of candidates were women. This year it’s 30%. There are more women running for office than ever before, and women have been well-represented in the political debates on both TV and radio in the lead up to the elections.
But that’s still less than a third of candidates. And only 29% of MPs in the House of Commons are women. Stylist recently wrote an article revealing that 15% of political areas in the upcoming election don’t have a female representative.
While I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that women should vote for a female candidate over their male counterparts just because they both have a vagina, the fact remains that women will be underrepresented in this election.
If you want to see more women in politics, use your vote to change the system!
Who should you vote for?
Whatever you do, don’t just vote for the politician who looks the part. Don’t just vote for whoever your mum, dad, friends, partner, brother, sister or boss tell you you should vote for. Don’t vote for a female candidate just because she’s a woman.
Vote for the party that best aligns with your beliefs.
If you’re not sure which party that is, take the iSideWith Political Party Quiz to find out.
You’ll be asked a series of questions on issues like The EU, taxes, immigration and the Human Rights Act, with straightforward Yes/No answers, which you can then rank from most to least important to you.
Your stances are then tallied and the website works out which party you should vote for. You’ll also get loads of fun graphics representing your views, like these.
If you’re past the point of voting for your favourite party, and just want to get the current government out, I’d recommend tactical voting. Tactical voting means voting for the party most likely to beat the current party in power in your constituency, regardless of which party you’d prefer to win overall. Sadly it’s a commonly used tactic in elections due to our First Past The Post system. It’s the best way to vote in marginal areas where the same party usually comes out on top, as it means they’re more likely to lose seats and lose their overall majority in the House of Commons.
My constituency is one of these, and the current Tory MP was one of the 30 being investigated for election fraud. He’s so far avoided the local hustings, stopped responding to people on Twitter, hasn’t been out knocking on doors, and hasn’t been seen for months. He’s got one of the lowest response rate to his constituents in the whole country, and for this reason I won’t be voting for my preferred party, but voting for the Liberal Democrats as they’re the party most likely to beat the Tories around here.
You can use this Tactical Voting Guide to see how you could vote tactically in your area.
Just Do It
However you choose to vote, make sure you’re well-informed, take the time to go to the polling station, and savour the fact that you just participated in our democracy!
You can post a selfie outside the polling station with the hashtag #SHEvotes to encourage other young women to get out and vote too.