#SHEvotes because she can

As the polling stations close, Rachel Hughes tells us of the importance of using our vote; especially young women, who are the least likely demographic to do so.

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104 years after the death of Emily Davidson, a suffragette who died during the campaign for women’s right to vote, young women around the UK are campaigning for and encouraging each other to use that right.

Voting day for the 2017 General Election is finally here! Around this election the electorate has been flooded with information from the various party campaigns to influence who gets your vote. But alongside these campaigns, there has also been several non-partisan campaigns started that don’t tell you who to vote for, but simply tell you why your vote matters.

One of those is the #SHEvotes campaign. #SHEvotes is a new movement encouraging young women to realise the power of their vote. The campaign highlights that when it comes to age and gender, women under 30 are the demographic least likely to vote.

Through #SHEvotes I also learnt that this group is the most likely to be an undecided voter. Bethan Harris, one of a group of friends who started the campaign, spoke to SCAN about the campaign. Bethan said, “Politics can be so ugly and divisive in this country and we know it’s putting a lot of people off voting. But politics matters to all of us. It affects everything from what house we can live in, what our future looks like, how our kids will grow up, what happens when we are sick, what our cities look like and even how our food is grown.”

The campaigns calls for women to plan their vote, remind 5 friends to use their vote and spread the word through social media. Their webpage shevotes.uk gives examples of how to do these steps, ranging from meeting up with friends to go and vote, to taking a photo of you writing #SHEvotes on a mirror and uploading it to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

It also gives the example of sharing a photo of you at the polling station on election day. But make sure you do this outside of the polling station and definitely do not photograph your ballot paper!

I asked Bethan why she thought women under 30 are one of the least likely groups to use their vote. She responded that, “so often mainstream politics is not aimed at [young women]. It is ugly, divisive and narrowly focused on a few issues. […] There are some amazing and inspiring politicians out there but all too often it’s men (and sometimes women) in suits shouting at each other in parliament or on the tv. It’s easy to feel disconnected, and it’s easy to feel that your vote is worthless. But actually if all young women did vote next week it would have a massive impact on the election outcome.”

Collective campaigning can be incredibly powerful but for it to work it needs your support and action. So please, use your voice. Use your vote. #SHEvotes