Politics - Gender - Scotland

2007 - 2022

Indy Women

Women may have won the vote but they still struggle to be heard. It’s been frustrating to watch mainly men, representing political parties, slog out the questions in a generally polarised, aggressive way. Not always – but it has certainly been the main prism through which the hugely important question of our country’s future has been directed through.

This may, in part, explain the striking gap in support for independence between men and women. At this stage, polls show that 49% of men say they will vote no but a 62%  of women say they will vote no.  It’s pretty evident that building women’s support for independence is fundamental to the outcome of the referendum.


Women for Independence (WFI) doesn’t want to embark on this discussion in the manner of a boxing match.  It seems obvious that if women are not entirely persuaded to support independence – we need to know why. So, the most important and very first thing WFI will do is listen. And create a space where all women’s voices can and will be heard – no matter their views.   Yes, we want a yes vote. But we want more. We want to mobilise women in pursuit of their own independence as well as that of the nation .


We’re a diverse, broad and inclusive bunch of women – growing as I write (230 at last count). We’re a big, messy group! We have big, messy meetings and discussions. We’re vibrant, grassroots and a real movement. Something I’ve been hungry for.

We’re all volunteers. No-one is paid and we all contribute. We have set ourselves ambitious goals. And – we’re autonomous. We support the broader Yes campaign but the fact that we’ve found each other demonstrates that there’s a gap and we can fill it.


Women For Independence is as broad as it sounds. We want to include all women who support independence and reach out to those who are not sure and those who at this stage remain unconvinced. We want to talk about what kind of Scotland we want to live in without dictating to women what that should look like.  So, we’re full of women of different political hues and none. Some may want a republic, some may want a low tax economy.  We won’t be developing a ‘programme’. I’ve never enjoyed myself so much!


We need to change the tone of the debate on independence and political discussion in general. People shouldn’t be feart of expressing contrary opinions in case the media cry “split” or “crisis”; or your contemporaries cry “sell out”. That approach subverts genuine and illuminating democratic discussion. We want to challenge that. Yes, we have hugely varying views on a whole lot of things (some of which we don’t know yet!) – BUT is it not time for everyone in political debate to say, “So what”?

If you only talk to folk that agree with you, how do you develop your own opinions, how do you change anything? We believe that independence, and just the very possibility of it, opens up infinite potential for new ideas and new confidence. We want to seize this time in Scotland’s history for women to take control, on an equal basis, of the big decisions and our future.

Better for women

We are agreed that independence needs to be better for women. How that looks will be a significant and interesting discussion our group will have. We’ll discuss the concerns and aspirations of the women we listen to. We want to find out what “better” means to them. And we will strive tirelessly to make sure their voices are heard. For too long , women have had to struggle in communities, workplaces, trade unions, political parties, the media – everywhere – to even earn the right to speak. Well, we’re just going to do it – and no-one will stop us.

What we will do

Any woman who wants to get involved can. Our website is now live: www.womenforindependence.org . And we’re on Twitter  @WomenForIndy. There’s also a Facebook Community Page http://www.facebook.com/women4independence?ref=notif&notif_t=page_new_likes

Things are in an exciting flux – it’s a great time to join. What we do can and should be influenced by the women who get involved and the women we listen to. We envisage a network of women conducting our ‘Listening Exercise’ across the country. Once, we have listened, and maybe learned quite a lot, we will try to persuade women to support independence.

We’re having a launch event on 30th. September in Stirling – that promises to be different too!

Comments (0)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. EdinburghEye says:

    If your goal is as described, I think it’s possibly a mistake to make a sharp distinction between “the women who already support independence” for whom you have the website, the discussion board, and apparently the twitter feed, and the rest of us, whom you plan to “listen to” … eventually.

    I thought briefly between last night and this morning that “Women for Independence” might turn out to be a space for the undecided. but apparently not.

    1. NikkiiH says:

      I think the name Women FOR Independence is a clear statement that it’s a bringing together of Independence supporters as opposed to a space for the undecided…. that would be called something altogether different, say Women Questioning Independence?

      So many women I know aren’t simply undecided, they really don’t care at all. It’s not a simple case of engaging them, they are actively dismissive. The undecided and engaged will ask questions and seek answers, the real challenge is finding out what answers to offer to people who aren’t even interested in thinking up a question! Listening to women who won’t ask and finding a way to answer them anyway is the mountain that needs climbing.

      1. EdinburghEye says:

        I think the name Women FOR Independence is a clear statement that it’s a bringing together of Independence supporters

        Fair point, and if women involved in the independence movement want a women-only support group, I think that’s great. It’s yet another example of how SNP/Yes Scotland supporters really do not want to engage with people who aren’t on their side, though.

        The process of trying to engage people and get an answer is not made easier by the wall of exclusion and anger which indy supporters set up against people who don’t support independence as a goal in itself, but might vote Yes if good enough reasons are given for doing so. (Hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t give up hope.)

        I had hoped that a basically feminist group would be that kind of area , since aside from the one issue of independence we probably agree on a lot of policy, but evidently not.

        the real challenge is finding out what answers to offer to people who aren’t even interested in thinking up a question!

        Well, a good beginning would be to look at the work the Scottish Women’s Convention did crowdsourcing women’s issues prior to the local government elections this year, and compare to the SNP’s proposed constitution for an independent Scotland. (As, ahem, I did.

  2. Ben Power says:

    Personally, I think it is just fantastic that women are taking the lead for women and working out ways that women’s needs, hopes and dreams can be better realised through independence.
    Women are the mainstays of our families, our society and our culture. they are also the guiding lights of our families regardless of how much men think they are.
    As such it is women who have the most to lose if the push for independence fails. Westminster will introduce such crushing punishing restrictions on Scotland it will make Thatcher look like the good fairy. They have already stated their intention of making it such that Scotland will never want to look at independence again. Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” explains the techniques.

    So heaps of praise for this new development by women and I am looking forward to and really eager to see the great things that they will come up with in the whole push for independence.

  3. bellacaledonia says:

    Very pleased to hear of and welcome the launch of Women For Independence.

    Alongside the launch of Radical Voices For Independence, Labour Voters for Independence, Trade Unionists for Independence, and others, it is clear that the independence movement is actually becoming just that, a genuine broad-based movement.

    Most of the women close to me I discuss Independence with tend to be family and friends including my mother, sister, partner and daughter. Only one of them are involved in political parties and they represent a broad range of views that encompasses committed Unionism, committed Indy and perhaps Undecided.

    One thing I’ve consistently found discussing the pros and cons of Indy is that women tend to switch off when questions of identity, simplistic nationalism, party politicking, etc come up. Too abstract. Democracy, peace, fairness and possibilities are much more powerful useable concepts.

    I’m hopeful that once WFI get organised it’ll be a lot more imaginative and outward looking than those who would focus our campaign primarily on the politics of identity.


  4. As long as there is not another Maggie Thatcher seeking revenge on men (lol) better with everybody contributing to society.

  5. Donald Miller says:

    A dog’s dinner of ideologies. Plain to see that Millie Tant is alive and well.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.