With the release of the new Suffragette movie I decided to have a think about the way in which views towards politics have changed in the past few years, writes Natalie Sweeney. I went to see Suffragette a couple of days after it was released. The big stars, Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter hyped up the film as they appeared on the Graham Norton Show and The One Show.

It was to be a tribute to the women and men who fought for women’s right to vote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Surprisingly, the film does not show us how women won the vote but instead focuses a short period of time between 1912 and 1913. The film emphasises the struggles that women had to endure simply because of their gender and ends with the fatal act of Emily Davison who threw herself in front of the King’s Horse in front of all the cameras. To this day the footage can even be seen on YouTube.

After being to university I have realised that there is a split in the interest of politics in young people. You get the people who are really involved and actively campaign for what they believe in. Then you get the people in the middle who will always vote but do not always know what they are voting for. Then, unfortunately, there are those who do not vote because they are not engaged at all by politics.

I think the most surprising thing about seeing the Suffragette movie is that it was set not so long ago. It has not even been 100 years since all women received the right to vote. It was a right worth fighting and dying for, and yet, in the next 100 years the vote would not be portrayed in the same light to the youth of today.

Largs woman Elison Whyte, who also happens to be my gran, suggested this topic for my column. She said that ‘voting is very important and everyone should use their vote wisely. A lot of people think that their vote will not make a difference but that is not true. Think about the referendum and how close the result was, all because the country was more engaged than ever before’.

You do not have to be campaigning in the streets or chaining yourself to the railings of parliament in order to be involved. On the run up to election time just take a few minutes to read all the different parties’ key points so that you can make an informed decision. I remember being told when I was younger that women died for me to have the right to vote. It was a bold statement that scared me into making sure that I registered when I was 18 years old.

Even though we were born in a different generation, people often forget that there have not been that many years between us and when the Suffrage movement took place. Just spare a thought for those men and women who campaigned for and won our rights to vote before deciding whether or not to get involved.

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