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Women and Politics

I was tempted to call this ‘Women in Politics’, but then, we’re all ‘in’ politics all the time.

When I was at school, or now at my age, it’s my grandchildren in the education system: that’s politics.

Or when did I last use public transport? Actually, this week, I’ve maxed my free bus pass on buses and trams in Edinburgh. That’s politics.

I’ve had my free flu jab, courtesy of Scottish National Health Service, and let’s be honest, ‘him in doors’ is an amalgam, held together by the same public sector with medicines, doctors, nurses, and yes, the ambulance service just once so far this year. And that’s politics.

So we are ‘in’ politics all the time.

But when it comes to the end of the week, and there’s more week than money, that another example of tough politics.

The last ten years plus has been so tough for so many brought about mostly by the ideologically driven politics of the right. Is there a need to remember Tory led and enforced austerity producing policies such as the bedroom tax and rape clause?

Yes, there is, not least because of the lived experiences of women, their families and communities across Scotland.

That isn’t ‘fake news’, no anti Tory Westminster rhetoric on my part.

In 2018 A United Nations expert said late last year that efforts by the Conservative government to pare state spending were “entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world.”

We should never forget the heartfelt response of the public : the rise of food banks, the attempt to counterbalance the spectre of in-work poverty and the poverty of unemployment. And the great part that the big hearted members of Edinwfi have played over the last six years.

From 2014 onwards, we’ve held our own food bank collections, period poverty practical help & campaigning: we worked to help set up a school clothing bank : organised a specialised clothes appeal for women and children abroad, and supported the Women’s Zone Edinburgh and LIFT, Muirhouse. All the while focussed cross party no party on the goal of Independence.

And all of that is political.

Without being ‘political’ in our daily lives, without our participation in the pro Indy movement, to secure our Indy future, all that heartache and deprivation, could be repeated by Westminster. Moreso since there is the very real threat of Brexit still to impact on us. And then factor in the weakening, and the dismantling of our Scottish Parliament.

Whilst we’re involved in everyday politics every day, every way, we can’t afford to forget that women are still underrepresented across all levels of power.

I know many will be saying...she’s lost it. She’s forgotten our FM, Nicola Sturgeon and how about leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and Finland’s Sanna Marin? No, I haven’t forgotten, but they’re the exceptions, admittedly with many women coming up behind and fast.

We do know that women still face barriers in accessing equal opportunities and representation in every sphere of life.

So in the tough months ahead, Brexit going live, combatting COVID (with that vaccine?) Westminster doing all they can to undermine our pro Indy 2021 messages, campaigns and then the 2021 elections, the support and solidarity of Edinwfi will be needed more than ever.

As we do everyday politics for ourselves, families, neighbours and communities.....budgeting, keeping ourselves,families, neighbours, safe as possible, going to school, working, volunteering....we have to keep our eye on the prize: independence.

As just one member of Edinwfi I want to be back at face to face meetings, back doing OotnAboot: campaigning, letterboxing, forming alliances.

Will you be back, too?

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