EU referendum: Both campaigns have let women down

 
Geeta Sidhu-Robb
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Almost seven in 10 women are employed in the UK (Source: Getty)

In between trying to understand why your child is growing up so fast and working long hours at the office, most working mothers might forget that they are women with their own needs too, because the last thing you tend to think about is yourself.

But every now and then, you have a once-in-a-lifetime event like Brexit to remind you.

Women will have the power to decide the fate of the EU referendum taking place today. However, the campaigns on each side have failed to resonate with female voters.

Brexit Britain: What you need to know

Fighting to be heard

Ironically, women's major contribution in the Brexit debate has been to fight for more women's opinions and questions to be voiced.

Read more: EU referendum: Poll of polls puts Leave ahead

At this point, female voters are stuck in the middle because they have not been included in the conversation.

Perhaps my son feels the same way when adults talk and make decisions right in front of him without including him in the conversation. But in this case, my vote matters, so why have my questions not been addressed, why am I not important?

Factually there are one million more women than men in the UK and 69 per cent of women are employed.

Women not being a part of the Brexit debate has been the very sign of inequality I fear women will face if we choose to leave the EU.

The EU has always been our friend and recognised the importance of eliminating inequalities between men and women. This is not to say that the UK will not provide us these laws, but the EU has always been our safety net.

Read more: EU referendum: What the polls aren't telling you

It has provided legally binding directives by which women and men were treated equally, especially in the work place. The EU provided equal pay for part time workers. And who does this affect? Mothers! Who are juggling a family, work and their own social life.

A humanised debate

Throughout the campaign, both sides should have done more to humanise the debate and have a positive vision for either outcome.

As mothers we needed to hear arguments on job security not just for our current work market but also for our children and grandchildren. When discussing immigration, we needed to examine the pressure it creates on schools and hospitals rather than suggesting "mass sex attacks" by migrants if we left the EU.

Women's issues desperately need to be at the core of the Brexit debate moving forward and we need to give more airtime to working mothers and female business leaders so this very public cat fight between Eurosceptic men is quashed.

This time, today, I am going to use my voice a woman, a mother, a worker, a daughter to declare I want to remain in the EU. What will you do?

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