Women for Independence
Democracy Didn't Stop in 2014...
Please check our Facebook page at Edinburgh Women for Independence to find out the very latest on what we have planned for the coming weeks.
Edinwfi aren’t strangers to stalls and outdoor events. Who could forget all those events from 2014-2019: Portobello on the Prom, Meals over Monarchy, International Women’s Day and Being Bold, both outside Parliament, the stalls in Craigmillar or singing in the snow in Portobello and so many more?
But we decided we needed a calling card all of our own: hence the name Ootnaboot with the OOTNABOOTers pitching up in early 2019. Sadly though, Covid meant our last event was at the Kirkgate in September 2019.
Getting the band back together
Following on from all the grand traditions between 2014 and 2019, Oootnaboot went live again August 2021 East End Princes St. and that year alone, we held five public outings across Edinburgh.
Anyone of us can join in, from setting up the stall to engaging with passers-by, to taking photos for our social media outreach.
But what exactly is engaging?
Over the years 21-22 we found that a questionnaire was a wonderful way to do just that. Whereas we always want to talk to women you’d be surprised at how many men want to take part. By designing the questionnaire as a series of ‘flow through’ questions you can find out so much about folks’ perceptions, understandings and voting intentions.
In 2021 more than 200 people, women and men took part and every one of the 5 outings returned a positive ‘yes’ to the question common to both questionnaires: ‘would you consider voting for independence? ‘
The percentage of positive yes votes differed from area to area with highest being 81% and lowest being 59%! Wait, what was that? “Lowest” was 59% ? That wasn’t in the pro union media!
Talking of ‘media’ it was interesting to note that the question ‘does the media e.g. national newspapers /BBC / cover Scottish issues adequately and fairly?’ produced a resounding ‘no’.
One of the interesting comments from Ootnabooters in ‘21 was being ‘impressed over the months with the younger women who took part, as they quizzed me and asked a range of questions, with comments and observations of their own!’
Who’s ‘we’ at Ootnaboot?
We’ve gone solo with as few as four members, the ever-present banner and table, and we’ve worked with others, including BiS, Pensioners4Indy, Yes Marchmont & Morningside Yes Pentlands, Yes Musselburgh/Portobello, Yes Fountainbridge
2022 was no different
And by August 22 feedback from four oots across Edinburgh and 121 participants (all asked the same questions) was very informative. The aim is always to discuss independence but this time it was clear that there was a good awareness of some Scottish Government provisions i.e. The Baby Box, No Prescription charges, Free Period products but less so of others ie the Child Payment and Young Persons Free Business Pass.
Overall breakdown of voting intention:- 73/YES, 15/NO, 33/ Undecided.
All were registered to vote.
Saw a flurry of activity, with four separate appearances across town in October alone, including the BiS Day of Action part of the pan Scottish activities highlighting the ongoing demand for independence
It’s going to be a bumpy year for sure if ‘22 in Westminster was anything to go by!
In ‘23 then, the reminder is that anyone can join in … that’s very true.
But there’s been a core ootnaboot team Joan, Moira, Theresa and Anne so a big thank you to them for all that work.
What about you then?
We’ll definitely be ootnaboot again, so how about it?
From setting up the stall, unfurling the banner, engaging with passers-by, to taking photos, will you be there too?
Perhaps helping design a poster, or volunteering some time with transport, or joining us at a monthly meeting to find out more?
Check out the Meeting and Contact Page.
Since we set up EWFI in the Spring/Summer of 2013, as well as being front and centre of the cross-party/no party campaign for an Independent Scotland, we have also campaigned on such diverse issues as:
Equal Rights for Women,
Food Poverty with our ‘Meals over Monarchy’ campaign,
Against the creation of a Scottish Super-prison for Women,
To End Period Poverty,
For Free School Uniforms
For Palestinian Rights and the rights of all oppressed women internationally
In support of our sisters in Catalunya
As well as supporting many local charities like Serenity Cafe’s ‘WomenZone’ and the very deserving Christmas Hamper campaign for Low Income families experiencing hardship in Muirhouse.
We have also raised funds & supplied tonnes of food and sanitary products to local food banks and to women’s hostels in and around Edinburgh.
Our women believe that we simply can’t just sit around and wait for Independence to begin building and shaping the nation we want to live in. So we do what we can, where we can, and 'work as if we're in the early days of a better nation'.
There is no doubt that women and children are often disproportionately affected by cuts forced upon us by a Westminster Government whose priorities are not ours, because they are more likely to live on low and/or fixed incomes. So until we have control of our own resources and priorities, we will continue to help those most in need.
These are just some of our past campaigns:
Only 2% of women are in prison for crimes of serious violence
80% of women sent to prison are on short sentences of less than 6 months
One third of women in prison are on remand awaiting trial, mostly for offences which result in only a short prison sentence and often in no prison sentence at all.