Women’s suffrage interview transcript – Anonymous, 19, undergraduate student

Rebecca Myers

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The Independent Online

Anonymous, 19, is an undergraduate student. Although she represents a more aware interviewee, with her involvement in feminist current affairs, she shed some interesting light on issues of political disillusionment burdening young voters today.

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

Anonymous (A): I have never voted... do you need to know, like, why? Is that the next question?

RM: If you want to [answer that], then yes...

A: Ok. I’ve never voted because I don’t agree with any of the parties and I don’t feel that political representatives make enough of an effort to engage me and deserve my vote. There’s no-one that I could vote for with a clear conscience and feel like I wasn’t doing a bad thing, because I just don’t agree with anyone.

RM: Do you feel voting is a duty?

A: Yeah, I do feel... I feel that to an extent, and I think that... it’s not that I don’t follow it – like, I do, even with the local elections and stuff, I always follow it – but I just never agree with anyone enough to vote. And, while I do think we have a duty to vote, I also think that low voter turnout can make a point of like how dissatisfied everyone is. But I will... I haven’t been old enough to vote in a general election yet, but I will definitely vote at the next one, even if it’s to go in and spoil the ballot, I will vote.

RM: What do you think about your right to vote? Do you think it’s different from a man’s right to vote, for example... because women fought for theirs?

A: Yeah, I think it is different because of the history that surrounds our vote and... I think in many ways I feel prouder of my vote, and like prouder that I have the right to exercise it because it’s not something that I take for granted, because... like, the history of the vote isn’t even that long, like it hasn’t been a long time since we got the vote, like only a couple of generations. So I think it is... I think I feel more strongly about my right to vote than the average man would.

RM: What would you say about other young women, like young women in general? Do think they value their vote, do you think they take it for granted, perhaps?

A: I hope so! I mean I think there’s a tendency for... because we sort of learn about the suffragettes and stuff in history, and we learn it quite early – like even in primary school, year 7, year 8 – and so it’s kind of like relegated to unimportant history and people think it’s like a long time ago, when really it wasn’t and so I think that maybe – I mean I don’t know for sure and I don’t think is the case among my friends, but I think that there will be women who take their right to vote for granted and don’t think much about the struggle for it, just because they’re not aware of it necessarily, or because they think it’s ancient history.

RM: Finally, have you heard of Emily Wilding Davison? (If so, do you know who she was?)

A: Yes, she was the suffragette who threw herself in front of a horse to protest.

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