Women for Independence
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday 1st February
Send sexism off in the General Election campaign
WFI believes that everyone should welcome and foster the increased participation of women - whether women campaigned for a Yes or a No vote in the referendum. Women should be able to raise their heads above the parapet without being a target for sexism or personal abuse. It is in the interests of all who believe in democracy to ensure that the general election campaign leads to even greater women's participation - not put women off getting involved ever again.
But already, women have been targeted. Some have already been subject to abuse such as one SNP woman candidate:
"She's what you might call a political prostitute whoring herself to whoever will have her."
Such misogyny is evident towards Labour women too - with one cartoon circulating that caricatures a prominent Labour candidate in the same vein.
Women get accused of 'carpet bagging' and 'careerism' the minute they declare their candidacy.
It is unacceptable.
That is why we are calling on all party leaders, candidates, activists and party staff to sign up to the pledge below:
Women for Independence calls on all parties to conduct a respectful, abuse free general election campaign and - specifically - a sexism free campaign.
We're asking all party leaders, candidates and activists to pledge the following:
-To conduct a democratic, respectful campaign that concentrates on political issues.
-That there will be no personal abuse directed at rivals
-That women will not be objectified or subjected to sexist language or behaviour
-That where there are panel discussions, all parties will insist on gender balance
-That where abusive or sexist behaviour occurs, parties will make clear that they do not tolerate it from their members, staff or representatives
Women who are not standing for Westminster stepped in to stand up for women who are - no matter the party they represent.
Ex SSP MSP and co-founder Carolyn Leckie said, "I know only too well how women can be judged in a way men never have to deal with. When I was in Parliament, it was bad enough but today sexist insults come raining down like darts on social media. People should be aware that wherever we see it, WFI will call out sexism and abuse - no matter what side it comes from."
Another WFI co-founder, Jeane Freeman, said, "Women across Scotland have been put off politics for many reasons but high up on the list is the sexist abuse they and other women are subjected to. Politics isn't about what you wear, how you look or who your partner is. If political parties really are serious about continuing winning women's support, they should not only sign up to this pledge but act on it."
Notes to Editors:
Women for Independence is a grassroots organisation working to ensure womens voices continue to be heard following the independence debate. We are active throughout Scotland, from Shetland to the Borders. Our full range of activities can be seen on the calendar on our website.http://www.womenforindependence.org/#!calendar/c21dp