Istanbul – city of two continents, one foot in Europe, one foot in Asia, with the Bosphorous flowing between them.
It’s a city that gave its name to a convention aimed at ending violence against women – sexual violence, genital mutilation, forced abortion, forced sterilisation, honour killings and so on.
The UK signed it in June 2012 – David Cameron’s Government did the right thing and agreed to the convention on our behalf – and on Friday, nearly five years later, MPs will debate whether to start doing something about it.
My friend, Eilidh Whiteford MP, has brought forward a Bill which will finally ratify the Istanbul Convention and set us on a path towards fulfilling that promise made five years ago.
France and Italy and the Netherlands are ahead of us, they’re already moving on it – so are Albania and Romania and Montenegro. You’ve got to ask why we’re so far behind and why it’s taken us so long to even get to the point where we’re starting to discuss it.
Better late than never, I suppose, and at least it’s getting done now – it’s even getting support from the Tory government so things look good now and I think we’ll see progress from tomorrow.
If that news makes you feel like celebrating a step forward for society and women in society, you might want to take in some the events in the Audacious Women Festival taking place now until the end of the month. Even I’m doing an event – hosting a panel of women artists on Saturday at noon in the Little Shop of Memory in Ocean Terminal.
You don’t have to come see me, of course, there are plenty of other events on the Audacious Women website you can choose instead. Ratifying the Istanbul Convention is worth celebrating, though, and I hope you’ll do something to mark it.
Deidre Brock is SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith. For more information visit http://www.audaciouswomen.org/2017-events