Women fought for you to vote

Why aren't women voting? Voting is essential - you are voting for you and the future of your family.

It is essential to vote. You are handing over the power to rule you and your life for five years; the decision made may impact negatively on you, your work and your children.

Do you want to leave that to chance. Make sure you vote and that you know the policies of the person you are voting for. Don't be apathetic. Almost 100 years on from winning the vote, women shun the polling booths

A new study commissioned by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, has revealed a widening gender 'turnout gap' in general elections - with fewer women voting than men

More than nine million women failed to vote in the last general election compared to eight million men new research has shown.

The study, carried out by the House of Commons Library at the request of Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, showed that 9.1 million women didn’t turn out in 2010.

The figures confirm a downward trend in the numbers of women voting and prove the ‘turnout gap’ between the sexes is getting wider. They come 97 years after the Representation of the People Act  was passed,allowing married women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time, and 87 years after full electoral equality was established. In 1992, more women (78.2%) voted than men (77.2%). But that number has been in decline ever since. In 2005 and 2010 there were more male voters than female. 64% of women voted in the last general election, compared to 67% of men. Turnout has declined across both genders. But the drop is most significant in women. According to statistics compiled for the British Election Study which were analysed by the Commons Library the number of ‘missing’ female voters has risen by 79 per cent since 1992. Between 1992 and 2010, the number of women voters in general elections fell by 18 per cent.

Harman announced the findings and made it clear that Labour intends to win over Britain’s absent women voters in this year’s general election by bringing "politics to the school gate and the shopping centre".She also announced the publication of a ‘women’s manifesto’ to tackle issues such as childcare, domestic violence, equal pay and the representation of women in public life. “Women are less likely to vote than men and the gender voting gap is widening. We believe that this election will be a watershed for women in this country,” she said "Politics is every bit as important and relevant to the lives of women as it is to men. Labour has set itself the challenge to make this case to the missing millions of women voters. "There's been a lot of talk about Ukip or the SNP holding the balance of power. The reality is that the 9.1 million women who did not vote in the last general election will hold the balance of power and decide who walks into Number 10."

Both Ed Miliband and David Cameron have been accused of having a ‘women problem’ in the past. Click here for the article

Claire Cohen

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