Pandora is 72 and from Pimlico. She lives with a learning disability and has voted in every election since she was 21.
“I love quizzes and enjoy reading. I’m part of our local drama group. I try my hand at creative writing – poems, short stories, plays and so on – and I am interested in history, genealogy and animals. I’m no longer working, but I do have a sort of unofficial lot of jobs – go to meetings, go and visit people – cheer them up, help them out and pass on helpful advice.
“When I first got the vote you had to wait until you were 21. I made sure my name was on the electoral register in good time and since then I’ve only missed one election. I was in hospital outside of the constituency to have an elbow joint replacement. So, there I was with my voting arm in a sling, confined to the ward so I couldn’t go out and vote. I got annoyed about it because women should definitely have the right to vote at all times. Look at the Pankhurst family and look at Emily Davison. They were prepared to do anything to get women the right to vote. I’m not going to let them down am I?
‘Look at the Pankhurst family. I’m Not Going To Let Them Down Am I?’
Image Credit: Jem Collins / RightsInfo
“My home helps don’t come until after 8 and the polling station opens at 7, so I’ll be able to go out, cast my vote and be back in time for them. I’ve got to go rather a lengthy way round to get to the polling station. And I hope it isn’t raining, because if they haven’t opened the doors I shall have to wait outside and I’ll get wet. But I like to vote first thing in the morning – go there, get it out of the way and then it isn’t on your conscience.
It is essential if people are not to be deprived of their rights that voting should be all-inclusive. It’s important to be able to get into the polling station in the first place – they should all have automatic doors and step-free access. If someone uses Makaton, Sign Language or can’t see too well, there should be a trained person to help them. Plus there’s the fact that some people have dyslexia and quite a few people don’t have English as a first language, so it’s confusing. I can understand it but not everybody can. Everybody’s got a vote, but not everybody can exercise their franchise.”
On the 6th of February 1918, the Representation of the People Act received Royal Assent. For the first time, women were allowed to vote in elections. However, women could only exercise their rights if they were over 30 and met certain other requirements about property. It would be a further ten years before full suffrage was achieved.
All this week RightsInfo is sharing the stories of modern women and their right to vote. We all have a right to take part in free and fair elections – it’s part of our human rights.