Young women today and their views on suffrage: Street interviews

 

In order to broaden my demographic, away from solely university educated women, I went out into my local town and conducted four mini-interviews with women ranging from the ages of 10-23.

Below are the audio files and transcripts

Interview 1 – Laura, 23; Alex, 22; Rachel, 20; occupations undisclosed

I spoke to a group of twenty-somethings out on a shopping trip about their views on women’s suffrage and the importance of voting. Their responses were very disheartening, and highlights a serious disillusionment with voting among young people in Britain.

Street interview 1 by The Independent on Mixcloud

Interviewer (RM): Do you guys consider yourselves voters, would you say you vote on a regular basis?
Girls, simultaneously: No
Laura: I did last year, but it’s not a big thing to me.

RM: Do you ever consider your right to vote as different from guys right to vote, for example?
Alex: No I don’t think so.
Rachel: No.
Laura: No I don’t think that... I think everyone’s pretty equal... now.

RM: Do you value your right to vote, do you think?
Laura: I do but I think it’d make a difference, I don’t see it making a difference.
Alex: Yeah, one person out of the millions in the UK.
Laura: But I suppose we should value our vote.
Girls: Yeah.

RM: How recently do you think women have had the vote for? Do you think it’s been like quite a long time, like off the top of your head...
Laura: No, it’s not been that long has it? Like 60s or 50s or something?
Girls: [Agreement]

 

Interview 2 – Charlotte, 19 and anonymous (‘Girl 2’), early twenties. Both shop assistants

I spoke to two shop assistants, who discussed with one another their respective attitudes to voting. Although seemingly ignorant of the ins and outs of politics, the girls quite adamantly believed there was a difference in the votes of men and women, thanks to the work of the suffragettes.

Street interview 2 - Voting by The Independent on Mixcloud

RM: Do you consider yourselves voters, do you vote regularly, or rarely?
Charlotte: I’m actually rubbish with things like that. I don’t think I’ve ever voted... I’ve never voted.
[Background discussion]

RM: Do you feel voting is a duty, or is it something you think you take a bit for granted?
Charlotte: I don’t know... I don’t really understand the whole voting thing, [to friend] do you?
Girl 2: I’ve never voted...
Charlotte: What is the voting for?
Girl 2: I do feel quite bad that we don’t vote...
Charlotte: Is it the Queen?
Girl 2: Because, like of all those people like the feminists and that, all they did for us and we just don’t give a shit. Excuse my [language].
Charlotte: What’s it voting for? The Queen?
Girl 2: WOW. [Laughter]... I have a thick friend.

RM: So you just said about the feminists and stuff, who fought for the right to vote; do you view your vote as a woman as any different from, like, a man’s right to vote, considering that someone fought for it?
Charlotte: Women are better than men!
Girl 2: Yes, exactly, I think our vote should be more important, because, like, we’re women, and...
Charlotte [over the top]: I don’t think it should be more important I think it should be...
Girl 2: ... because we never had the choice to vote years and years ago and now we have and we’ve finally got our voices heard I feel like our votes are more important than any man’s.
Charlotte: I think it depends... do you know, like, if you’re like a stay-at-home housewife then you shouldn’t vote, but if you’re not and you go to work then I think you can vote.
Girl 2: Yeah but then I think that certain women, then if they are stay-at-home mums then I think they should have the right to vote, just because they stay at home when they’ve got kids... most of their men think they should stay at home because they’re girls.
[Inaudible discussion]

RM: And just finally, how recently do you think it was that women got the vote, just off the top of your head?
Charlotte: Like 2012?!
Girl 2: [to Charlotte] Are you taking the piss? I apologise... Ok, it’s a LONG time ago than that... I’m thinking, my mum was allowed to vote I think so I’d say... about my nan’s age? So she’s about in her seventies, so about 50 years ago?

Interview 3 – Francesca, 13 and Josie, 14, both schoolgirls

I stopped a couple of teenage girls on their walk home from school to talk about their experiences of women’s suffrage. Interestingly, this particular age group – Francesca, 13 and Josie, 14 – although not complacent about their right to vote, saw no differences between men’s and women’s votes

Street interview 3 by The Independent on Mixcloud

RM: So do you think when you’re older and you’re allowed to vote, do you think you will vote regularly?
Francesca: Yeah, I think I will.
Josie: Yeah

RM: Do you think it’s kind of a duty to vote?
Francesca: Yeah, I think so...
Josie: Well I think it’s what your opinion... I don’t think you have to, but if you want to, I think you can.

RM: And do you think you will value the fact that you can vote?
Girls together: Yeah, yeah definitely.

RM: And what do you think about being a woman and being able to vote, do you think it’s different... do you think your vote is different from a man’s vote, because people have fought for it?
Francesca: I don’t know...
Josie: I think it’s all equal, because like everyone should be treated equally and stuff and it’s not really, like, a problem.
Francesca: Yeah.

RM: And, just off the top of your head, how long ago do you think it was that women got the vote in England?
[Pause]
Roughly?

Josie: Is it somewhere like around 1939?
Francesca: Yeah.

 

Interview 4 – Esme, 11, Chloe, 10, Katie, 11, Mille, 10, all schoolgirls
[Due to background noise it has not been possible to clearly ascertain who is speaking at given points. For this reason, I have numbered different speakers, although this does not correspond across questions – i.e. Girl 1 in one question is not necessarily the same speaker as Girl 1 in another question, simply the first of the girls to speak.

During the street interviews, some of the most impressive answers – both in accuracy and in thoughtfulness – were those of our youngest interviewees. Here a group of 10-11 year olds explain why they think women’s suffrage is so important.

Street interview 4 by The Independent on Mixcloud

RM: So do you guys think that when you’re older and you have the right to vote about politics, do you think you’ll vote?
Girls, together: Yeah.

RM: And do you think you’ll value that vote, you’ll think it’s really important?
Girls, together: Yeah!
Girl 1: It’s like to do with who you are.
[Agreement]
Girl 2: ... like, your life.
Girl 3: Yeah, it’s like, if the wrong person is picked then your life could change.

RM: That’s really true! And do you think it’s different that you girls have votes to boys having votes... because women fought to have the vote for girls?
Girls, together: Yeah!
Girl 1: It feels more special because we know that we had to fight for it
[Agreement]
Girl 2: And like men just got it.
[Agreement]

RM: And how long ago do you think it was, roughly, that women got the vote in England?
Girl 1: It was quite a while ago... was it about
[General discussion]
Girl 2: 400 years?
Girl 1 and 3: It was in the Victorian times, I think?
Girls 1, 3 and 4 to Girl 2: 400 years?! [Laughter]

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