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Did Scottish women win the day?


Scotland, Women, Independence Has just asking the question lifted the lid on Scottish women’s voices?

The arguments for and against Scottish independence seemed in the end to focus largely on the financial implications of independence and the viability of financial independence, but a larger story unfolded in the last ten days before the vote.: the power of women’s votes was widely regarded as the decider.

Both campaigns realised early on that women would be important in deciding the outcome but the Yes campaign, with its ringing values of fairness and equality, spoke most directly to women voters.

And now, after what was a most truly divided campaign, it is not surprising that the opinions on whether women voters were pro or anti the nationalist movement are split.

The Better Together campaign attracted much criticism for its sexist video depicting what were apparently ‘real women’s voices’.

The video stressed that undecided women were being influenced by their husband’s political opinions, their role as mothers and the need to protect their children’s future.

The Women for Independence campaign also featured attributed women’s voices, in this case a broad range of women speaking through their blog.

These were not women worrying about their children’s future or what their husband was saying.

These were women talking about true gender equality – addressing both the individual and structural causes of gender inequality. Writing with wit and humour and passion about what country they want to build going forward.

Is it a shame then that the vote went against those voices?

There are many that might say that just asking the questions has lifted the lid on Scottish women’s voices.

In the wake of the No vote the SNP has seen a significant rise in membership – up to over 40,000 from 25,000 in the week following the election, but there is no indication of how many of those new members are women.

Other political parties – the Scottish Greens and the Socialists (SSP) – have reported rises in membership too, but again we don’t have a gender breakdown.

Women are, however, leading the next chapter in Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon now likely to become First Minister – and if she does all three leaders of the largest Scottish political parties will be women.

This seems a far cry from male-dominated Westminster.

There are many questions about going forward, but what is clear is that there is no going back, for Scottish women and the whole of the UK.

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