You’re thinking about seeking election to the National Committee for Women for Independence | Independence for Women (or WFI, for short)? Fantastic!
We’ve tried to answer some questions you may have, but if we’ve missed anything, just ask: [email protected]
Who is WFI for?
WFI is open to all self-identifying women who share our aims of independence for Scotland, gender equality and social justice.
I’ve never joined anything like this before, it’s a bit scary – is it for me?
Absolutely! One of the aims of WFI is to encourage more women into public life. Why not start here? If you're interested public office, this is a great way to find your feet and effect change in a supportive environment.
I’m worried I don’t know enough about feminism or independence – what if I’m not good enough?
It’s not about being good enough or being an expert – we all learn from each other, we all have experiences that contribute – we all give and we all take away!
Tell me more! What would I be doing?
The WFI National Committee holds about 6 meetings a year and up to 4 National Council events, plus our AGM. As a member of the National Committee, we would hope you could commit to attend on these dates, whether in person or by dialling in. We will aim always to have remote access to our meetings, to make them more accessible.
We understand there may be times when you cannot attend, but you should not miss more than two meetings in a row, without good reason. Do think carefully about this, before submitting your application.
You can also get involved in:
- Coordinating national campaigns
- Planning the topics and format of our campaigns and events
- Speaking at our events
- Press (interviews with newspapers, broadcasting etc)
- Social media
- Establishing and maintaining connections with other women’s and Indy groups
- Research - a vital component that will inform our campaigns
- Fundraising, Finance and other operational tasks
- Local Groups liaison - coordinating linked campaigns in the runup to the referendum
The level of your involvement will determine how much WfI can achieve. You choose how best you can contribute and you will not be asked to become involved in anything you're not comfortable with: for example, some people are happy to speak to the press and some are not.
Please bear in mind that your tenure will coincide with a major push for Independence, so you should be prepared to commit time and energy to this!
That might be a bit of a challenge because of my family/carer/work commitments – how flexible is that?
We try to be as flexible as possible, because we want women from all backgrounds to have a voice. You can job-share, if you are time-poor or prefer to work with a partner. We understand that some people have caring responsibilities or other issues which make it hard to travel, so we will also make it possible for you to dial into live meetings. If this feels like it might be a problem for you, please get in touch with our National Coordinator to have a chat about it. I'm sure we can work something out!
I live far out of the central belt – I can’t afford to travel there from where I live.
We reimburse travel costs for National Committee members. This usually means car mileage or public transport, but if your needs mean that you have to use a taxi then that’s ok too. We also reimburse overnight accommodation, if you live too far away to get there and back in a day. We want to make sure that women from all parts of Scotland can be part of our National Committee. We do try to hold our committee meetings fairly centrally so we can be accessible for people who use public transport, which is why we generally meet in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Our National Councils, however, take place all over the country! We've held National Council meetings in Glenrothes, Inverness, Glasgow, Alloa, Kilmarnock, East Kilbride, Aberdeen, Galashiels, Edinburgh, Dundee, Paisley, Troon, Lerwick and Stirling. AGMs tend to be in Perth because it’s also good for access and *not* in the central belt! We have very fond memories of Perth!
Please, everyone, don’t let financial issues, or any disability, or caring responsibilities, get in the way of standing for National Committee – WFI needs you!
I’m not a member of any local WFI group – is that a problem?
No! As long as you are a member of WFI nationally, you can stand for election. You can join WFI here. And our membership fees accommodate all pockets!
I can’t go anywhere without my carer/Personal Assistant, who’s my husband/partner/male – is that a problem?
Of course not - carers and PAs, regardless of gender, can attend any WFI meetings with you to support you – and they can come free to paying events, too.
I’m not a member of any political party – is that a problem?
Absolutely not! We are non-party-political and count in our membership women who are members of different political parties, and of none at all. We don’t all agree on everything – and that’s OK! As long as we respect each other, we can work together on the causes that bring us together. You don’t have to know lots about ‘politics’ either – being alive today is all the political experience you need (oh, and a conscience!).
I can’t cope with political argy-bargy…
Well. That’s old-school politics, isn’t it? We try to ‘do politics differently’ – and you can be part of the change!
How do I find out more about standing as a candidate?
You need to be a member of WFI to stand for the National Committee but as long as you join by the time nominations close, then you are entitled to stand. You can join here. All information related to the election appears in the members' section of the Women for Independence website. Once you have joined WFI, you will be able to log in and read it.
If you have any more questions or need any more information on anything, please contact our National Coordinator, who will be happy to help.