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
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence