Young Aberdeenshire woman takes Girlguiding voting campaign to Westminster

A young Girlguiding Scotland member from Aberdeenshire is urging all girls eligible to vote in this year’s General Election to make their voices heard – after taking her calls for change directly to Westminster.

Jenny Martin, 20, is set to join a host of high-profile female politicians and BBC Radio One presenter Gemma Cairney at a special event held in the UK Parliament on Wednesday 11 March 2015 to champion the issues affecting girls and young women.

The event will be hosted by two leading charities for women and girls, Girlguiding and Women’s Aid.

Together the charities, who represent and support nearly one million girls and women across the UK – with Girlguiding Scotland representing more than 60,000 members in Scotland – want to make sure all women’s voices are heard at the ballot box on 7 May.

In the 2010 General Election more than nine million women didn’t use their vote. Just 39 per cent of women aged 18-24 turned out to vote, compared to 50 per cent of men the same age.

Jenny Martin is championing the voice of young women in this election through Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign. Members are calling on all politicians to commit to eight key changes that will improve girls’ lives, including addressing sexual harassment in schools and getting more women in Parliament.

Jenny, who is a Leader at 1st Ballater Rainbow group, said: “This election is a great chance for girls to speak out about the change they want to see – so it’s vital that every one of us uses our vote.

“Girlguiding research shows that more than half of young women feel like they’re not being listened to by politicians.

“I hope to see more girls and women voting at this election than ever so that every politician sits up and notices our calls for change.”

Denise Spence, Girlguiding Scotland’s Chief Executive, said: “During last year’s referendum we saw a record high level of political engagement amongst young people in Scotland.

“We’d like to see this trend continue and passionately believe in encouraging our members to use their right to vote.

“We believe that in order to see positive change in the lives of girls and women in the UK, all girls need to shout out and make sure that politicians have no choice but to listen to them.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

  1. For interviews with Jenny Martin and Denise Spence please contact Girlguiding Scotland’s press office.
  2. Girlguiding and Women’s Aid ‘Why Women and Girls Matter in the General Election’ will take place on Wednesday 11 March at 12.30pm in the State Room, Speaker’s House, House of Commons.
  3. Join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag: #YourVoteMatters.
  4. Through their Girls Matter campaign Girlguiding members are calling on all politicians to commit to eight key changes that will improve girls’ lives. For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsmatter.
  5. A number of MSPs, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, have backed the Girls Matter campaign, and a motion about it has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament.
  6. The charity has also launched a new democracy badge called Girls Matter: Hear Our Voice inspiring girls aged 5-25 to engage with politics and have their say. Girl-only activities include learning about the history of democracy, exploring the workings of Government and how girls can launch campaigns on issues that matter to them.
  7. Girlguiding’s Girls Matter Policy AsksListen to girls and young women, take them seriously and make sure their voices countDemand schools take a zero tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment

    Call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality

    Make girls’ rights a priority in the UK’s approach to international development

    Stop children’s exposure to harmful sexualised content in mainstream media

    Empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping

    Modernise sex and relationships education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe

    Guarantee that women will be equally represented in parliament

  8. Statistics on female votersIn the 2010 General Election there were an estimated 9.1 million women of voting age who did not vote, compared to 8 million men. http://www.harrietharman.org/millions_of_missing_women_s_voices_must_be_heard_at_this_year_s_election.3.3 million young people will have their first opportunity to vote for the first time on May 7, 2015 but two million will not vote, according to research by YouGov for British Future. http://www.britishfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Voice-of-a-Generation-report.FINAL_.Embargo-6.5.14.pdf.

    This IPSOS-Mori report into voting in 2010 found that 50 per cent of 18–24-year-old men turned out to vote, compared with just 39 per cent of 18-24-year-old women https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2613/How-Britain-Voted-in.

  9. Girlguiding Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for girls and young women with more than 60,000 members. We are part of a worldwide movement which enables girls and young women to fulfil their potential and take an active and responsible role in society. Girlguiding opens up a world of exciting opportunities for girls and young women across Scotland. Girls can take part in a wide range of activities from adventure sports to camps, international trips, science projects and community action. Find out more @GirlguidingScot, www.facebook.com/GirlguidingScot or www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk.
  10. Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 553,633 members. Thanks to the dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. We run Rainbows (5–7 years), Brownies (7–10 years), Guides (10–14 years) and The Senior Section (14–25 years). Registered Charity No. 306016. www.girlguiding.org.uk.