In the ISLE OF WIGHT council chamber, only 20% are WOMEN
When the Isle of Wight Council voted to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, ALL 6 women councillors voted in favour
I have an elderly friend called Marion.
Marion is in her 70s, she has 4 grandchildren and one great grandchild, all of whom she loves very dearly.
At the last election, we spoke a bit about it. Marion told me she had never voted. I asked why not, she said she felt it was down to other people to decide what happens.
I explained that the Environment was really critical, that some political parties were really making it a priority to protect the Environment. I said that the climate would greatly affect the lives of her family, and asked if she felt it was important to do this for them. She said "I know it is, I will think about it".
I saw her a week after the election. I asked her if she had voted. She told me that she drove her Husband down to the polling station, because he wanted to vote . I asked if she had voted, she said she didn't go in. She didn't vote, even though she was there.
I felt so sad!
I have a friend called David. Many years ago, he ran for the local Town Council.
He went knocking door to door, introducing himself and talking to people.
He said what really surprised him the most was that if a woman came to the door, when he explained who he was, the woman would often say "I'll go and get my Husband, he deals with all all those things".
The right for Women to vote took 96 years to be made legal.
When I think about what the Suffragists, the Suffragettes and then the Women's Freedom League did for all women around the world,
I can not waste waste my vote.
We see from history that it took these 3 movements, running alongside each other, for Women to have the right to vote.
In 1832, the first petition, signed by 1500 women, was handed to Parliament requesting the right for Women to vote.
A debate was raised in Parliament in 1867 by John Stuart Mill, which was defeated
1884 saw a vote to campaign to be included in the Third Reform Act, which was again defeated.
In 1889 the Women's Franchise League was formed, with the aim for married, single and widowed women to have the right to vote.
In 1897 , Millicent Fawcett formed the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies , drawing together peaceful campaign groups under one banner
In 1903 the Women's Social and Political Union was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst
In 1905, militant Suffrage began. Women attempted to break into Parliament, throwing bricks. Women were angry at being denied the vote. Women like Emily Wilding Davison refused to eat and barricaded herself in her prison cell. She had a hose turned on her and was force fed.
On 6th Feb 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed giving older, more privileged women the right to vote. In November of the same year, The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act was passed allowing women to stand in Parliament for the first time.
In 1924, the first Woman MP was voted in Margaret Bondfield. She went on to become the first Woman MP. In 1929 , she was the first woman to become a Cabinet Member.
In 1928 the Equal Franchise Act was passed, giving all women the right to vote from the age of 21. The 'Flapper Election' took place in 1929.
It took until 1987 for the first Black Woman MP to be elected, which is Diane Abbott.
Even now, we do not have equal and diverse representation in the House of Commons.