It’s election time again.

On May 5 voters in Wales went to the polls to vote for their next Welsh Assembly, and Police and Crime Commissioners.

Traditionally, voter turn-out at Assembly Elections is much lower compared to the UK General Election, where – let’s be honest turn-out isn’t great either.

Last year just 66% of the British public went out to vote.

In the 2011 Assembly election, just 41.4% of eligible voters cast their vote to have a say in who represented them in the National Assembly for Wales.

Why should women care about this election?

For one, the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government make decisions on a huge number of things that affect our day-to-day lives.

Decisions about the health service, education, transport, public services, childcare, and programmes to tackle poverty & inequality – all made here in Wales by our Assembly Members.

Secondly, AMs will be able to do their job better if they are more representative of the communities they serve, and if they are hearing directly from people about the issues that matter to them and the solutions they need.

This can only be achieved if more of us take the opportunity to make our voices heard.

This is particularly important for women, who remain under-represented among decision makers, to ensure that our politicians understand how their decisions affect women differently.

Voting is such a crucial part of making our voices heard. There are plenty of other ways that we can get involved in the election debate and make sure that gender remains high on the agenda.

  • Attend local hustings which provide constituents the opportunity to quiz their candidates on what they would do if elected.
  • Ask a candidate about their priorities when they knock on your door.
  • Engage with your candidates on social media – most are really keen to hear more from their potential constituents!

As polling day draws nearer we’re encouraging women and men to engage in the debate; to ask politicians what they would do to make Wales a more equal & prosperous nation, and to ensure that women can achieve and prosper.

Most importantly, we’re encouraging everyone to go to the polling station on May 5 to make sure all of us have a say on what the next Welsh Assembly will ‘look like’.