Young Banbury Woman Takes Girlguiding Voting Campaign to Westminster

1996CDA22nd March 2015

A Banbury young woman 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 politicians in Westminster.
First-time voter Olivia Wypior, 19, from North Newington, joined a host of high-profile female politicians and BBC Radio One presenter Gemma Cairney at a special event held at the Speaker’s House in Parliament on Wednesday 11th March to champion the issues affecting girls and young women in the UK.

The event was hosted by two of the UK’s 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, want to make sure all women’s voices are heard at the ballot box on May 7th.

Speakers included MPs Caroline Nokes, Jo Swinson and Seema Malhotra and Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

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 18-24-year-old men.**

Olivia, who was a Guide Leader at the 1st Bodicote Guides, and is currently studying at Reading University, said: “We should always remember the struggle that women went through to get the vote in the first place. Voting in elections is one of the many ways that we as women can work towards bringing greater equality for women and get women’s voices heard at the top!”

Olivia is championing the voice of young women in this election through Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign.

Girlguiding members are calling on all politicians to commit to eight key changes that will improve girls’ lives.* Sexual harassment in schools and more women in parliament are among the policy calls from girls and young women.

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.

Olivia added: “I want the new parliament to empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping. To be a member of parliament for example shouldn’t be stereotypically a male career. We need to see both men and women in big professions, it shouldn’t be more of an achievement when a woman gets a top position because she’s a woman, it should be normal to see both men and women in those roles. We need the media to support women and paint them in equal lights that they do of men.”

For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsmatter

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