New Pro-Independence campaign aims to persuade women to vote Yes in 2014


By a Newsnet reporter
A campaign aimed at persuading more women to see the benefits of independence for Scotland is to be launched on Monday.
‘Women for Independence, Independence for Women’ will take a less patriotic look at the independence debate and instead focus on the positive changes a Yes vote could make to families and society in general.

Founders include former Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie, Jeanne Freeman who is a former special adviser to then Labour First Minister Jack McConnell and Isobel Lindsay who is a socialist campaigner and former SNP candidate.

Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday, Ms Lindsay said: “Although most of Women for Independence’s supporters are not involved in party politics, all of us in this new group believe in independence for Scotland.

“But we also know that women are less likely to vote yes than men in 2014.  We want to change that but, first of all, we want to find out what some of the issues are so we can work with women to provide the information they want and, hopefully, persuade them that voting yes makes best sense for them and their communities’ futures.”

Ms Leckie added: “I love that this group is as wide as its name and that we have very diverse reasons for supporting independence, but we all agree that independence needs to be better than the status quo for women.  So this group will listen to women and bring women together to organise for our own voices to be heard centre stage, for our own independence as well as that of the nation.”

Successive polls have found support for independence is stronger amongst men than women. 

An Ipsos Mori poll published in June found 38 per cent of men support independence but only 27 per cent of women.  And a YouGov poll published in May found that only 27 per cent of women support independence while 59 per cent were against.

The group hope to win over female doubters by listening to their concerns and softening the debate by moving away from the more confrontational and emotive ‘Braveheart’ style of argument.

The campaign draws from across Scotland’s political spectrum and mirrors similar efforts at persuading women voters by the ‘Yes Scotland’ pro-indy campaign group which has several dedicated sections within its site, including one specifically aimed at encouraging women to participate.

Women have also been identified as a key target group by anti-independence campaign group ‘Better Together’.  The campaign to keep the Union recently announced it is to target mothers at school gates in an attempt to bolster the No vote.

Organisers of the Better Together drive for a No vote are also planning to take advantage of online women’s ‘social networks’ to in order to spread support for the Union.

Speaking in July, a No campaign insider said: “Our focus groups and internal polling show there is more male than female support for independence and that more woman are distrustful of Alex Salmond.

“Women maintain larger and stronger community groups and we want to get those women who are sceptical about independence to start talking about separation.”

Better Together claims that almost 3,000 Scots have already volunteered for training to help them get the message across.