The right to vote is not something I never take for granted.

It’s been just over a century since women first won the right to vote in this country, and across the globe there are still several countries in which women have to face violence and opposition if they try to access the ballot box.

As a Jewish woman, I am even more cognisant of the fact that the democratic right to cast a vote should not be taken as a given. All four of my grandparents were refugees to the UK – two of them, my mother’s parents, survived Auschwitz and other concentration camps, making their way here at the end of World War II. My father’s parents were more fortunate; both managed to escape their birth countries just before war broke out. All four were left bereft of parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, neighbours and friends, too numerous to count.

The seeds for the persecution, imprisonment and murder of Jewish people and others during World War II were sown by the Nazis at a party rally in Nuremberg in 1935. The ‘Citizenship Law’ stripped minority groups, including Jews, of their rights to vote, effectively rendering them stateless.  

When I go to cast my vote, the weight of all this national and person history sits heavily on my shoulders. I am mindful of the fact that I am privileged to have the ability to do so. And by casting my vote, therefore, I am not only helping to shape the community that I live in now, but I am working to safeguard the privileges that I enjoy, for future generations.