A post for Voting Day…7th May 2015, UK

Are we a generation of invisible, silent women? Of copers and doers but without a voice?

Here’s why this is an issue absolutely relevant for the week in which we cast our vote for the government for the next five years in the UK.

I was facilitating a conference recently called “The Age of No Retirement”. The purpose was to raise the issues that an ageing population, fitter and healthier than ever before face as they grow older, may have to work for longer and the impact that has on them and on society.

One of the many quotations that were displayed around the conference centre was the one by Helen Walmsley Johnson. She states that :

We are a generation of women who need to speak up and demand what we need because there is so much wrong with the treatment and perceptions of our age group. We are a generation of copers – silent copers at that – but we need a voice. I can’t add my voice if i remain invisible. We must stop being invisible women. It’s simply no good to be polite and hope that someone else will do it for us, or that common sense and good manners will prevail. That is not how society is, if it ever was. We need to adapt and reinvent ourselves.

But this issue is not just for women of a certain age.  It is not even an issue for just women.  Being silent can lead to be invisible, being invisible leads to coping but no influence over change. Having no influence over change leads to being at the whim to chance, fate and the motives, decisions and ideas of others.

I have heard recently, some, often women but not exclusively, bemoaning the fact that they can’t decide where to vote or even whether it is worth it because they disagree with all the parties standing for election.  My answer to this is threefold.

First: the right to vote and become ‘visible’ was hard won and so valuable that to not use it would be a fatal step away from the democracy (flawed as it undoubtedly is) that plays an important part of freedom. Second: the right to vote allows us to become visible and vocal. Ok, I know that the make up of Parliament is imperfect and I am as cynical as the next person when it comes to second guessing politicians motives, but if we stay silent, then how can it get better? And third, the right to vote is the first step to making change.  Maybe it starts at local level – in our communities, schools, street and local government before we get to national politics.

What do you think? Will you be using your vote on Thursday? Is this a woman’s issue?

Would love to hear from you

Catherine

Stand up. Speak up. Stand out.

 

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