100

NoneOur Labour councillor for Bargate, Sarah Bogle, has written this great article about the upcoming anniversary of women gaining the vote. It is so important that we exercise our right to vote.....
Tuesday 6th February is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which historically gave (some) women the vote for the first time, 8.5 million women over 30 and who owned property.
Equality of voting age (at 21) with men did not come till a decade later, but this was a significant step forward after many years of campaigning and protest.
2018 was also the year that women first got the right to stand for the UK Parliament, and 100 years on, we now have 208 women MPs 32% of the total.
Local government should be more representative, but we still have a way to go. Southampton has just 12 female Councillors out of the 48, just 25% of the total, Labour has 9 of them, and hopefully there will be more after this year’s local elections on 3rd May, partly thanks to Labour’s policy of all women shortlists (AWS).
I was first elected as a Councillor in Bargate on a 15% turnout, at which point I was delighted to be elected but quite upset at the level of voter engagement. Turnout has increased, but this has been partly because many of our more transient population are not registering in the first place, because of the new individual voter registration system.
It is strange to think that women were prepared to die for this right to vote not that long ago, and many countries, that right is still not established. Now, significant numbers do not even register to vote, and many never use their vote, particularly in local elections. I hope the focus on this important centenary this year will inspire more people, and particularly women to use their vote.

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