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Labour target 'non-voting' women

Labour will target millions of women who did not vote in 2010 in a bid to secure success in May's general election.

Deputy leader Harriet Harman said the party will "bring politics to the school gate and the shopping centre" to win the backing of the 9.1 million British women who did not vote at the last election.

She said the "missing millions" could decide who takes the keys to 10 Downing Street in May.

Research carried out by the House of Commons library at Labour's request showed an estimated 9.1 million women of voting age did not cast their ballot in 2010, compared to eight million men.

In 1992 some 78.2% of eligible women voted, while 77.2% of men did but by 2010 turnout among men was 67% and for women it was 64%.

Ms Harman 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."

She added: "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."

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