Suffragettes 100: Editor’s comment - Do not ignore your right to vote

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 February 2018

Suffragettes marching to protest against the first arrest of a suffragette in London. Picture: PA

Suffragettes marching to protest against the first arrest of a suffragette in London. Picture: PA

PA/PA Photos

Today (February 6) marks the 100th anniversary of a new law which gave some women the right to vote.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 permitted women over the age of 30 if they were either a member or married to a member of the local government register, a property owner or a graduate voting in a University constituency. However, it took a full 10 years before the age was lowered to 21.

Today the minimum age is 18 but for the first time anyone over the age of 16 will be able to vote in council elections across Wales in 2022.

It’s too easy for women today to forget what the suffragettes went through to enable females to be able to vote.

I remember learning about them briefly during a history class at school and until I become a mother I simply forgot about them.

However, I was reminded of their importance when at the age of 21 I told a friend I was too busy with my young daughter to go out and vote.

“You know women died so you could go and vote,” she said to me.

If that doesn’t shame you into voting nothing else can.

There’s also the argument that if you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain when the government or your local council bring in a new policy that you don’t agree with.

I have many disillusioned friends who don’t vote because they believe their vote won’t make a difference – I strongly disagree with that.

We are lucky to live in a democracy where we can vote for who we like, we have the freedom of speech and we can criticise the government without being arrested (as long as you don’t make any threats).

Don’t forget to vote in the council elections in May.

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