Jules Hillier, Chief Executive, Pause
When elections come as thick and fast as ours have over the last 4 years, it’s easy to get complacent, irritable even, and take involvement in our democratic processes for granted. That was certainly my response to the latest plans – a heavy sigh and, if I’m honest, a bit of a “what’s the point” kind of shrug. Then, as so often happens, my initial cynicism was prodded and challenged by the response of my colleagues in Pause who wanted to think about how we could best support our Practices to ensure the women who are working with them are not disenfranchised.
And of course, they’re right. However jaded I may feel about the political situation at the moment, the most important thing has and will always have to be that everyone can take part in the process. Every day we hear the women who work with Pause described as ‘hard to reach’. It’s a term we don’t use, but if women find the services they need difficult to access, I am certain many of them will not have been reached by the great engines of democracy.
So, as the election is announced we’re making a commitment at Pause to the women with whom we work; we will support you to take part. If you’re not sure how elections work then we will help explain it, and don’t worry if you don’t – lots of people find it hard to understand how our Parliament and MPs work. We’ll help you make sure you are registered to vote, we’ll encourage you think about the things that are important to you and we’ll support you to research the candidates in your area. We’ll never, ever tell you how you should vote, but we will make sure you have everything you need to make and exercise your own choice.As with many things at Pause, once I’d started thinking about the world from the perspective of the women with whom we work, I felt more energised about the potential of an election. I regained some of the zest and passion for involvement in democracy that I’ve always had, but that the last few years has rather dampened. I’m proud to be in an organisation where somebody’s first thought (even if it’s not always my first thought) is “how will this affect the women?” Their energy and enthusiasm has galvanised me and I hope it will inspire you too.
Regardless of our political opinions, or the results of a general election, the desire to ensure that everyone can take part should be something that brings communities together. In a time of division, to find some common ground through supporting those who have not always been able to participate to do so is a rare and joyful thing.
At Pause we want to support everyone to be able to vote and make sure their voices are heard. If you are currently working with Pause your practitioner can help you register to vote, but it is entirely up to you to decide who you want to vote for. Your voice, your vote.