Kathrine Santos is a long-time campaigner for Proportional Representation (PR). She’s an active member of the Make Votes Matter East London group, and regularly takes part in street stalls and other awareness-raising activities to shine a light on why we need PR. 

When she spotted gender equality and women’s rights group the Fawcett Society were planning an annual conference called Courage Calls, she leapt at the chance to represent Make Votes Matter at the event.

The conference was held on a cold winter’s day at the end of November, but Kathrine found it to be a heart-warming experience. She tells us how the day went and what she got out of it.

“When asked how to resolve the current divided politics and toxic bullying of female candidates and journalists, the reaction from one conference-goer was: “Isn’t it time to bring in proportional representation?”

“There seemed to be a growing sense that bringing in PR would be the first step in creating a system where people’s votes really count, where parties are encouraged to cooperate and where a broad range of perspectives would be listened to.  

Kathrine, pictured left

“At the Fawcett Society annual conference in London on Saturday 30th November, these topics were discussed during an all-female panel covering the increasingly toxic political environment for female politicians and journalists.

One of the panellists highlighted the need for moderate politicians from all parties to come together and work collaboratively instead of the current confrontational approach. This was met with the question from the audience stating: “Isn’t it time to bring in Proportional Representation?” and was roundly cheered by the audience, myself included! 

“I couldn’t agree more and for that reason, Make Votes Matter had agreed for me to have a stall at the conference. Lots of people visited the stall and either signed up to hear more about the movement for PR, or to say that they were already life-long supporters of PR. Some even told me that they have campaigned for PR since the 1980s but alas had since stopped actively trying to change the system. But make no mistake, visitors left the stall with the message that this could be the last election using First Past the Post if every PR supporter contacts their election candidates to remind them that we need to make seats match votes.” 

Klina Jordan, Co-Chief Executive at Make Votes Matter, praised Kathrine’s efforts for running the stall and getting the word out about PR. She added: “Research has shown that countries with Proportional Representation have a more equal balance of female politicians compared to male politicians. 

“With women making up only a third of MPs in the UK, bringing in PR would be an impactful way of increasing female representation at the top table.

“With the historic, ground-breaking Good Systems Agreement in place, we are closer than ever to changing the system. And with a general election around the corner, we all need to keep reminding politicians of all parties that the current two-party system is no longer fit for purpose in a modern multi-party reality.”

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