Too many people do not exercise their right to vote. They do not recognise the value of that vote. Too many of those people are women... girls... us. They do not recognise the value of ticking that box, of saying their piece, of making their mark. "Why would I bother when it won't change anything? It won't make a difference," they say but they are wrong.
I vote. I vote because someone, a woman, several women in fact, fought for my vote, protested for my vote, lobbied for my vote, demanded my vote. They shouted that I should have that right. Someone stood in front of policeman and demanded without fear that I should have that right. They demanded it not just for themselves or you or me but for generations and generations and generations of woman to come. I owe those women. I owe them my vote. I owe them my voice.. A woman died for my vote. She died for your vote. Don't waste it. Don't squander that. Don't squander the gift that's been given; that you have the same rights as a man.
There are women across this world who still don't have your rights. They can't vote. Can't speak their mind. Can't decide their own fate or the fate of their daughters. They are not a possession yet they are treated like it. You are not a possession, you may be a woman but you are no less than any man. You are not a possession yet parts of this world still think it.
In a world where people are not valued, where to many women are maltreated and too many children are abused. In a world where too many bad things happen, in a world where people aren't treated the way they should be, human rights are more important, more needed than they ever have been before. There are more slaves now than when slavery... ended. What world can we say we live in when their atrocities all around our world? How can we ignore it? Cast our eyes away from the pain and suffering of our equals? Because that's what we are? The women that got you your vote, voted, fought, died for equality. Over a thousand women arrested for the right to vote. Women lose out every day, yet we do nothing. We don't speak out on their behalf like the women who came before us. Yet we don't vote.
It's the most powerful weapon we have; the ability to change policy with a single tick of a box, an email to our MPs. A single tick of a box can change everything, yet do we even read the summer budget? Do you want to know how you can change the world? How you can prevent all the horrors and atrocities you see? VOTE. LOBBY. DEMAND MORE.
The problem is we're not really the character in a book and most of us underestimate ourselves. None of us, not the little girl in the playground or the old lady in her rocking chair or the single mother at the school gate or the young business woman who works tirelessly to be equal to the men surrounding her in the board room. None of us. None of us recognise the strength of our own voice. Even the loud ones, even the brassy ones, the outrageous ones. Your voice can not be tamed. It can not be silenced. It can't be tempered. It cannot be be mastered or controlled. There is only one person that can contain your voice and that's you. There's only one person that can hold you back and that's you. There's only one person that can weaken your resolve, it's you. You alone can tame your voice. So demand more, be strong, vivacious, powerful and commanding.... like a lion, roar and roar and roar again for what you value, for what you believe in... your voice has weight... it has power and authority... don't waste it. Never give up. Fight for what matters. Never give up. Never stop. Just give your voice some substance, use it wisely, choose your cause, and change the world.
The suffragettes, a bunch of women, they wanted what you and I have, they wanted the same rights that any man had. They wanted rights over their children. Equal wages. The right to vote. They spoke and shouted as loudly as they could to a world that could barely hear them. Their voices were distorted. The media wasn't what it is now. Freedom of speech wasn't what it is now. They couldn't speak as loudly as I do. No that's not true. They raised their voices louder than I ever have, yet I have an advantage. The difference is once I've finished speaking I can share it. I can press send... and share my words with the world. My words can leave me in England and find you in American... or Canada... Spain... Egypt... Brazil... China.... Russia... My words have power because those women fought for that power and if they can be heard when their voices didn't have the same ease of delivery... the same projection... then how much more so can my voice be heard when I fight for the rights of this world.
We don't live in the pages of a novel, sometimes I wish we did, but the truth is each of us can be just as strong and independent as any great heroine. We just have to choose our cause and take our stance and shout.