How the United Kingdom Is Getting Women to the Polls

How the United Kingdom Is Getting Women to the Polls

Just last week, the United Kingdom held its general election, with 66.1% of eligible voters coming out to cast their ballots for parliamentary leaders. A substantial amount of those voters may have voted after hearing the message of some social media agencies.

After learning that only half of 18-25 year olds turned out at the last general election, and less than half of those voting were women, social media group Youth Media Agency and Amos Magazine teamed up to make their “#XXVote” campaign go viral. According to their Crowdfunder page, they discovered that “women are often confused and overwhelmed by politics, or are simply uninterested because of both a lack of political literacy in our education system and a lack of policies that represent them.” Unfortunately, this is all too real, as seen by how few young women have registered to vote, and how few actually go out and vote.

#XXVote, a play on the two X-chromosomes that biologically female women have, aimed to use viral videos and social media to bring attention to their cause. The campaign abstained from supporting any one party in the system and instead shared statistics and reasons for why females should participate and vote. Seeing as everyone is affected by the legislation that lawmakers write and pass, it’s vital that we elect the officials that we think have our best interests in mind as a collective, even if they cannot provide for our individual interests and beliefs.

While #XXVote was a campaign only seen in the UK, it would be interesting to see something similar implemented in the US. According to the US Census Bureau, only 38% of young adults voted in 2012, following a downward trend seen since the 1960s. While some years have sparked higher turnouts from the 18-29 age group than others, overall, it seems as if people are less inclined to vote.

As the campaign brought up, some think that their voices won’t be heard regardless. After all, what’s one straw in a haystack of votes? However, when you add up all the little straws of people who have similar mindsets, you see that it makes up a hefty portion of that giant haystack – and who knows, maybe that group of voters have different ideas that they wish to see implemented, and can vote to get implemented, if they registered and voted.

When it comes to women, however, it is crucial that we get as many female voters out there as possible to review the platforms that candidates announce and run on. With major special interest issues like women’s healthcare, transgender/sexual orientation, and the wage gap on the line, it’s important that we’re able to have ready access to and digest information about our representative government, and how we can get what we want out of it. Wouldn’t you like to see more people representing young adults, and female young adults at that, in our government? After all, if there’s a chance that Hillary Clinton could be our president in the next election, then people interested in seeing that should get out there and vote.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.