#Emilymatters: A Voting Revolution
By Youth Ambassador Jack
Like any campaign, its inspiration must have its roots. The #Emilymatters cause, founded by actor/writer Kate Willoughby, is perhaps somewhat more unique than most initiatives with its origins and go it has inspired a new online social media movement. With her own play ‘To Freedom’s Cause’ first performed in the Houses of Parliament in February 2014, focusing on the efforts of renowned suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, Kate has since gone on to launch a prolific social media movement on Twitter which has acquired support from a wide range of names in the public sphere.
From Jane Garvey, Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, to former Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, the campaign’s political neutrality has attracted attention from all sides in getting its principal messages across.
With now over 1500 followers on Twitter, a new debate has emerged from the interaction with the @Emilymatters profile. With a series of live Twitter debates, a new trend in #Votingmatters has emerged and people of all ages are now engaging in the topics that may impact them in the General Election and beyond that. As the hash tag of the debates suggest, questions raised in the 30 minute discussions range from lowering the voting age to 16 to distrust of politicians. They are more about engagement and not party politics. The latest project is with #DearLauren, based upon a young woman Kate met in Scotland during the referendum last year, who said:
“I don’t really care … I’m not really interested in it. I think it’s very boring.”
People are sharing photos to justify to Lauren why voting itself is an important act.
Besides being a YEUK Ambassador, I am myself a team member of the #Emilymatters movement. With my often strong views around issues surrounding employment and other big agendas for the day, it is no good choosing to take a back seat when the time comes to vote. As Emily fought for the right of women to vote, young people now take centre stage too. The campaign aims to get young women, where only 39% aged 18-24 voted in the last general election overall and additionally just 44% of 18-24 year olds in general back into the polling stations. A democracy can never be sustainable if less than half of the population refuse to have their say when it comes.
Speaking about why she is so passionate about the campaign and some of the many events across the country Kate is involved in, she says:
“It’s our hard won right. Don’t let anyone silence you or make you feel that your vote doesn’t matter. The more young people who vote, the more the next government, whoever gets in, will have to listen to you.”
This is only just the start though – in 2018 will be the centenary since votes for women became a reality for many women (and 1928 for all). #Emilymatters will be there to remind younger generations of its significance and why it still impacts our society today.
Will you be heading to your polling station in May? Why not follow @Emilymatters on Twitter and have your say.
See the Emilymatters general election toolkit for apps, clips and websites to help you get better informed: bit.ly/ge15-toolkit
And visit the website for more details about what we do: bit.ly/Emilymatters