Interview – Kathryn MacPherson, undergraduate student, 21

 

Interviewer (RM): Do you vote (regularly, rarely etc.)?

Kathryn MacPherson (KM): Almost every single opportunity presented to me, be it civic or for the SU [Students’ Union], or anything in between. Way I see it, if I don't know the issues at stake, I can learn in order to make an educated vote - never a bad thing. And people endangered their relationships, jobs, families and lives just so I could vote unimpeded. I don't think that's something to take for granted, and I really try not to. However, I didn't do things like vote for local PCC, because I don't think I can justify making decisions for a town I only live in sometimes, and also couldn't even begin to find the building. My bad.

RM: Do you feel voting is a duty?

KM: In many ways - I do subscribe to that old adage that you can't complain if you don't vote, and I love complaining. And I think people do need to understand that being a citizen is a relationship of reciprocity; not the Big Man handing down edicts from on high - not if you, en masse as a people, decide otherwise.

RM: Would you say you take your right to vote for granted?

KM: Sometimes you do lose sight of how so many people are disenfranchised worldwide, and what that actually means - to have lived an entire lifetime with no civic rights, no idea of what it means that your opinion, unqualified though it is, matters (however infinitesimally) to those who dictate so much of your life.

RM: Would you say you value your right to vote?

KM: I absolutely value my right to vote - as a member of a sector of society which doubly couldn't vote, I feel like two fights were fought for me and other black women - one against racism, one against sexism. That we've reached the societal point when I can vote without so much as a raised eyebrow thrills me every time I get to do it.

RM: What about your peers? Do you think they take their right to vote for granted, do you think they value it, do you think they vote at all?

KM: I do think young people take the ability to vote for granted. As I say, we've lived our whole lives taught that our opinions matter, our voices should be heard - we don't fear our own intellectual independence. Right or wrong, we can say it without fear of persecution - at least in the eyes of the law. It's just a lack of empathy on a lot of people's parts.

RM: How would you rate the knowledge of young women in general on the suffragettes?

KM: I think young women have quite an abstract idea of what the suffragette movement did for them? They're aware that they made their lives what they are, but don't know exactly what those changes were? Or have any idea of what was sacrificed.

RM: Do you consider your right to vote as being any different from that of man, if so in what way?

KM: In an ideal world, no. And I will always appreciate that when it comes down to it, my vote counts for the exact same as a man's does, and vice versa, no matter if it's a 'men's' or 'women's' issue we're voting on. But I do think that voting should mean more to women, because we haven't always had it - just like we haven't always had a lot of things.

RM: Have you heard of Emily Wilding Davison? (If so, do you know who she is?)

Emily Davison is GREAT. Duly without Wikipedia-ing it, she was the one who was killed at the races, right? And at some point she threw herself down 10 flights of stairs and fucked up her spine in protest at something? Without knowing exactly what rights she was campaigning for women to have, I appreciate her voice, and oddly, a respect for her devoting her body to her cause. Men undergo physical trauma every day in the name of sports (it's really interesting looking into the prevalence of mental health issues/suicide in ex-NFL players, for what it's worth...), women only ever suffer in childbirth, as far as the public eye is concerned. Nice, in as respectful a way as I can say it, to have a woman in history who used her body for what it could DO, not what it could produce.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Admin / Studio Manager

£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability Adviser - Welwyn Garden City / Hendon

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Employability within this compa...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer - UI / UX Design

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Designer is required to j...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£30000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Pea...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable