1 whole session
Encourage girls in all sections to think about how Parliament, the government and politics affects their lives. As well as encouraging girls to have their say in the political process, this activity also helps to build confidence at presenting and public speaking. Those same skills are required by MPs in order to be effective in Parliament.
**TOP TIP** Get a local female MP or Councillor to come into the session and give the girls a talk about their work in politics. Try to choose one who is particularly engaged with youth work.
Get into small groups of three or four. Each group will become a ‘political party’. Give each party a number (for example, if you have five groups number each party from 1 to 5).
Ask everyone to think about what they would do if they were put in charge of running the GFS group. In their parties they must discuss and come up with a list of promises of things that they would do if they were in chage. These can be as serious or as fun as they want them to be. Each party must write down at least five different promises. This list of promises is what they call in Parliament a ‘manifesto’.
The parties will have ten minutes to prepare and then they must present these promises to the other parties.
Each party must give a short two minute presentation to the rest of the parties, telling them their ideas and promises of what they would do if they were in charge.
When each party has given their presentation it’s time to vote. Give each person a ballot paper and explain that it is a secret ballot, meaning that they cannot discuss their vote with anyone – even their party.
Each person should put an ‘x’ next to the party that she wants to vote for. Voting for your own party is not allowed. To make sure no one cheats, the ballot papers could be printed on different coloured paper for each group to tell them apart.
Each person folds up her ballot paper and drops it into the ballot box.
When everyone has voted count the votes and declare the winner.
Ask why people voted for that party? Was it the presentation style or the list of promises that made them choose that party? Why do they think it is important to have a secret ballot?
Try it this way
To shorten the activity, you could do a ‘hands up’ vote at the end. Ask the girls to all close their eyes so that it is a secret vote and to raise their hand when they hear the number of the party they want to vote for. Alternatively, put the numbers of each party in different corners of the room and ask the girls to go and stand by the number they want to vote for.