A campaign aimed at encouraging women to engage in the independence debate in an effort at persuading more to vote yes to independence has been launched.
Women for Independence, seeks to bring the discussion on independence to the women of Scotland. The diverse, grassroots network will officially launch with an informal cultural and political event.
Women for Independence are gathering in Stirling to officially launch their network, with a new website at http://www.womenforindependence.org, a community page on Facebook and a twitter feed. The network now has over 1000 supporters and will continue to grow during the next two years, as it works to convince more women to vote yes to independence in Scotland’s historic referendum.
The network, which will work alongside the official Yes Scotland campaign, brings together women from all backgrounds and ages, of all party political persuasions and none, to campaign for independence.
The aim is to ensure that women’s voices and views are heard in the debate on Scotland’s future. By creating space for women to gather together, Women for Independence is providing somewhere for women to debate, discuss and even disagree on the possibilities that independence offers to the women of Scotland.
Jeane Freeman, a former chief of staff to Jack McConnell who now supports independence, said:
“I want women to be front and central in this debate. I want to hear what women up and down the country have to say and to hear their worries and their hopes.
“And I want to play my part in persuading other women, that not only is an independent Scotland possible, but that it’s our best opportunity to realise our hopes and dreams for our families and communities.”
Women for Independence will spend the winter listening for independence, finding out from women what they think about political issues through the online survey, setting up informal focus groups to give women space to talk about what they care about politically and using an online forum for women to find out more about independence and discuss issues.
Carolyn Leckie, former MSP and founding member of Women for Independence, explained:
“Women For Independence wants to listen to women and bring women together to organise for our own independence as well as that of the nation. I love that this group is as wide as its name. I love that we intend to reach out to ALL women – stretching over pre- existing boundaries of parties, geography, social group, identities.
“What we are doing is unique – creating a network for women, by women which will make space for women who don’t necessarily engage with political processes other than to vote, to make their voices heard and their views known.
“Our listening for independence exercise has the potential to change how politics in Scotland works forever. Women for Independence aims to encourage more women to vote yes by convincing them that independence isn’t just for Scotland, it’s for them too. Independence is the best chance we have to create a better future for women, for children and for everyone in Scotland.”
Sheila McNeill, explained why she has got involved in Women for Independence:
“I want to ensure that women play a leading role in the independence campaign. I’m heading towards an age where many women say they find themselves becoming invisible. I don’t want that to happen to me or any other woman in this campaign. We have a voice, we have a point of view, we will be heard, we will listen and we can make Scotland a successful independent country.”
Commenting ahead of the launch, SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I am delighted to welcome the launch of Women for Independence. It has my full support and I look forward to playing my part in it over the next couple of years.
“It’s vital that women’s voices are heard loudly and clearly in the independence debate. For me, independence has always been less about flags and the symbols of statehood and much more about having the powers we need to build a better future for Scotland – one where we invest our vast national resources in tackling child poverty and securing world class education and health services, instead of wasting money on immoral weapons of mass destruction.
“I think that’s a message that will resonate strongly with women over the next two years as we build support for a yes vote in 2014.”