Whatever you do, wherever you are today, please go and vote; a hundred years ago, you wouldn’t have had the option.
A hundred years ago, women died, were imprisoned, starved themselves in prison, so that we, their future daughters, would have the right to go to a polling station and exercise our vote alongside our husbands, fathers and brothers.
Voting, particularly for women, is not only a right, it is a hard-won privilege.
If you think that “politics doesn’t apply to me”, as I have been told so many times by so many women – then think about all the things in your world, in your life, which do apply to you: the environment, education, hospitals, employment, medical care, crime. By voting today, you are using your voice to make a conscious choice about how your country is run and by whom.
Please – make time to vote today, whether it’s because you want to have a say in how UK plc is governed for the next five years or in memory of the brave suffragette fighters who suffered so terribly so that we would have the rights which they were denied.
Here’s an extract from the 1909 diary of suffragette Laura Ainsworth, in which she describes being force-fed:
“They hold your arms and legs … You have a towel wrapped around you. One doctor kneels at the back of your right shoulder and forces your head back. He forces your mouth and the other doctor pushes the tube down your mouth about 18 inches. You have a great tickling sensation, then a choking feeling and then you feel quite stunned.”
(For more on these brave women and the debt owed to them by 21st century women, check out “The Ascent of Woman: a History of the Suffragette Movement” by Melanie Phillips).