Women for Independence
|Purpose||Gender equality activism|
|Mission||To improve the representation of women in public and political life throughout Scotland|
Women for Independence is a grass-roots political organisation which seeks to improve the representation of women in public and political life throughout Scotland. Founded in 2012, the movement promotes the causes of Scottish independence and other constitutional changes they consider likely to contribute to greater democracy, gender equality and social justice.
The group was established in August 2012, with the aim of ensuring women's voices and interests were given fair consideration leading up to the Scottish independence referendum. It was formed with the support of Jeane Freeman, who was a key member of the team of former First Minister, Jack McConnell, while he was leading the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Scottish Labour Party. Former Scottish Socialist Party MSPs Carolyn Leckie and Rosie Kane were also founder members.
The group's creation was welcomed by Yes Scotland and by the Scottish Government's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Women were a particularly important demographic in the referendum due to an increasingly large gender gap in opinion polling. In March 2013, a poll showed that while 47% of men supported independence, only 25% of women did; this gap had grown by seven points on the January beforehand. Ivor Knox, the director of Panelbase, said at the time that the poll showed a gender gap that "appears to be greater than ever, particularly among younger voters". By September 2014 there are more than forty local groups.
Women for Independence have continued campaigning since the referendum, hosting a conference in Perth on 4 October 2014 to discuss the future of the organisation. The conference venue had to be changed several times to accommodate a larger crowd, and was eventually attended by 1,000 delegates.
The group's first formal AGM took place in Perth on 14 March 2015 to ratify the new constitution and elect a National Committee. The AGM also voted to consider the creation of a Women’s Party if existing parties don't "act on gender equality".
In November 2015, Women for Independence informed their members that they had called in the police after they found a 'discrepancy' between donation income and expenditure in their accounts. It was reported that tens of thousands of pounds had gone missing. In September 2016, MP Natalie McGarry was charged with offences relating to fraud.
- "About". Women for Independence. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- Barnes, Eddie (12 August 2012). "Scottish independence: Campaign to convince women to vote 'yes'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- "Scottish independence: Women encouraged to vote yes". BBC News. 30 September 2012.
- "Campaign to drive women to vote for independence backed by former Jack McConnell aide". 30 September 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- "Indyref poll: gap narrows to 10 points, but women retreat". Sunday Herald. 2013-03-24. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Women for Indy won't be disappearing to drink tea and eat cereal". The Herald (Glasgow). 21 September 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- Brooks, Libby (6 October 2014). ""We're not going back to our sofas" - Women for Independence in Perth". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- Allan, Vicky (5 October 2014). "'Women are recognising we have power ... the question is what are we going to do with it?'". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- "Women for Independence National AGM". Women for Independence. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Lesley Riddoch: Scotland politically switched-on". The Scotsman. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Brooks, Libby (23 November 2015). "Scottish independence group calls in police over missing donations". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "MP Natalie McGarry charged with fraud offences". BBC News. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
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