A New Parliament that looks more like Scotland

Women for Indy was more than delighted to see the recent election of a new Parliament with a record 45% women, including two women of colour - Kaukab Stewart (SNP) and Pam Gosal (Con) - and Pam Duncan-Glancy (Lab), the first permanent wheelchair user elected to the Scottish Parliament. These milestones never happen by accident and it’s worth recalling Margaret Mead’s famous quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens [read, women] can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

Or, as we like to say, everything worth doing started around a woman’s kitchen table.  Mindful that we know exactly who some of those thoughtful committed women are, we asked Talat Yaqoob of Women 50:50 campaign to share her thoughts on the election and how we got here.  Here’s her blog, with our thanks.

 

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The Women to Watch

After a campaign flattened by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Parliament elections served up a Holyrood that feels refreshed if not radically changed. With 45% women, the first permanent wheelchair-using MSP, the first two female MSPs of colour, and 19 newbies, the swearing-in ceremony featured a breadth of languages that promised a tilt towards a legislative body more representative of the people of Scotland.

Now that former Green, Alison Johnston, has been installed as Scotland’s second female presiding officer, post-election attention is shifting to the formation of the Cabinet. With new ministers due to be elected on Thursday, speculation is rife about which names will be attached to plum decision-making roles.

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Looking back to look forward

From long-time WfI member Kathleen Caskie. We asked her to write a piece that looked back to look forward—Enjoy!

That’s another Scottish General Election done and dusted, then. It’s definitely a cause for celebration that the new Parliament will contain far more women than the old one, along with more racially diverse and disabled parliamentarians. The election of a Parliament that is 45% women is a significant milestone and reflects the work of a multitude of women (a monstrous regiment, one might even say) ever since the vote for devolution was passed more than 20 years ago.

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It’s a men’s issue. So it’s high time men dealt with it.

TW: Violence and domestic violence.

 

My check of the news this morning brought further details in the shocking case of Sarah Everard which shows us all that women are not safe from male violence and deserve better. The fact that a “serving police office” is being questioned in relation to her murder shows us that women are threatened and attacked by men from all walks of life. A female Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, is asked to reassure women that they are safe. How can she? She’s not the one attacking and murdering women.

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Statement for International Women’s Day 2021 

This International Women's Day, we continue to live in unprecedented and challenging times. Scotland and the whole world attempts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown and physical distancing separates us from the routines, cares and pleasures of ‘normal’ life. We are concerned for our loved ones, anxious about the dangers for vulnerable groups, and contending with an underlying existential dread about what this means for the future – for ourselves, our communities, for a just and sustainable global order. 

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A Womanifesto for Scotland: Food and food policy

Food is at the heart of so many issues for women in Scotland.  For this reason, and in response to input from women all over Scotland, Women for Independence has identified food and food policy as one of the 4 pillars of our developing womanifesto.  

Our focus on food emerged from National Council meetings held all over Scotland.  We invited women—members and non-members—to tell us about what matters to them, to their families and communities, and to independence for women.  This reflects our commitment to listen first, to talk about what matters to women, and to do politics differently.

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2014 Open Letter to the Women of Scotland

A Women for Independence Come All Ye

We are living in unprecedented and challenging times, as Scotland and the whole world attempts to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown and physical distancing separates us from the routines, cares and pleasures of ‘normal’ life. We are concerned for our loved ones, anxious about the dangers for vulnerable groups, and contending with an underlying existential dread about what this means for the future – for ourselves, our communities, for a just and sustainable global order. 

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WFI's Election Night In London

Women for Independence was contacted by BBC News to ask us if we could send two women to analyse the election results as they unfolded as part of the BBC's election night coverage.  They were to travel to London to participate and provide comment through the night and into the next day.  The women concerned were not to be members of a political party.  Our National Committee member Lesley Orr and former National Committee member Kim Nicoll agreed to go along and Kim writes about her experience below.

 

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Recognition, Representation and Reform: WFI Doing Politics Differently In Europe

WFI National Committee member, Maggie Lennon (below) travelled to Brussels to represent Women for Independence at a major conference on Internal Expansion of the EU. The event was run by the Coppieters Foundation who are a European Political Foundation think tank.  As well as asking questions (6 key ones), she offered solutions and discussed ideas, and the event posed many questions of its own . But just because the issue is tricky and complex isn’t a reason for not engaging fully. Below is her blog based on her main presentation.

 

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Photo: 2019 © Delmi Álvarez

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