Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

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Millions of missing women’s voices must be heard at this year’s election

Millions of missing women’s voices must be heard at this year’s election - Harman

New research shows that 9.1 million women did not vote in the 2010 General Election. 

Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, is going in search of these missing women’s voices to ensure they are heard, by voting in May.

The gap between women and men’s likelihood to vote is growing.

Research commissioned by Harriet Harman and undertaken by the House of Commons library shows that:

  • In the 2010 General Election there were an estimated 9.1 million women of voting age who did not vote, compared to 8 million men.
  • Between 1992 and 2010, turnout fell by 14 percentage points for women compared with 11 percentage points for men.
  • In 1992 voter turnout for women was higher than the turnout for men (women 78.2 per cent, men 77.2 per cent)
  • In 2005 voter turnout for women fell behind men and in 2010 voter turnout was three per cent lower for women than men (men 67 per cent, women 64 per cent.)

Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said:

“There’s a growing trend for people not to vote. And this is worrying for our democracy. It means fewer people are deciding on the hugely important issue of who should represent their local area and who should govern the country.

"And it’s a worrying sign that people feel that politics is out of touch with their lives and that whoever is in power will make no difference to them.  

"But it is striking that the fall in voting is even greater among women than among men. Women are less likely to vote than men and the gender voting gap is widening.  At the 2010 election, 9.1 million women did not vote. These are the missing millions of women who will be the focus of Labour's 'Missing Millions' campaign in the run up to this year’s General Election.

“We believe that this election will be a watershed for women in this country. Women had been making progress in their lives with the backing of the last Labour Government. But now, with this Tory-led government that progress is stalling and the clock is being turned back on equality.  

"Labour's campaign for women to vote will see Labour women bring politics to the school gate and the shopping centre as well as offices and factories.
 "Politics is every bit as important and relevant to the lives of women as it is to men. Labour has set itself the challenge to make this case to the missing millions of women voters.
"There's been a lot of talk about UKIP or the SNP holding the balance of power. The reality is that the 9.1 million women who did not vote in the last General Election will hold the balance of power and decide who walks into No 10."



Notes to Editors:

Source: British Election Study 








% change 92-10

'Missing' voters






































 Statistics were obtained by the House of Commons Library using the British Election Study (BES) survey data. Please note that for survey data turnout is self-reported. Typically in surveys asking if people had voted the trend is that turnout is overstated (i.e. more people claim to have voted than actually did). The House of Commons library has adjusted for this by weighting reported turnout to actual turnout. The samples are not available by nationality so this data accounts for all people aged 18 or older.

In the time from 1992 – 2010 population growth was approximately 11%


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