Scottish independence: Campaign to convince women to vote ‘yes’

Have your say

A CAMPAIGN to convince women voters of the merits of Scottish independence is to be launched this week.

The “Women for Independence, Independence for Women” campaign will kick off tomorrow amid polling evidence showing a huge gap between men and women in favour of separating from the UK.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the Fabian Society earlier this month, put support for independence at 39 per cent from men, but just 22 per cent among women.

Organisers of the new campaign said last night they first wanted to listen to women’s views about independence in an effort to dampen down concerns female voters may have.

It will also veer away from “Braveheart” rhetoric which polls suggest may turn women off independence, focusing more on how independence would impact on family life and society.

Founding members of the campaign include former SNP candidate and left-wing campaigner Isobel Lindsay, and the ex-Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie. Other backers are Jeanne Freeman, formerly a special adviser to then-First Minister Jack McConnell, Susan Stewart, the first “Ambassador” for the Scottish Government in Washington DC and Kate Higgins, a leading blogger.

Lindsay said: “Although most of Women for Independence’s supporters are not involved in party politics, all of us in this new group believe in independence for Scotland. But we also know that women are less likely to vote yes than men in 2014. We want to change that but, first of all, we want to find out what some of the issues are so we can work with women to provide the information they want and, hopefully, persuade them that voting yes makes best sense for them and their communities’ futures.”

Leckie added: “I love that this group is as wide as its name and that we have very diverse reasons for supporting independence, but we all agree that independence needs to be better than the status quo for women. So this group will listen to women and bring women together to organise for our own voices to be heard centre stage, for our own independence as well as that of the nation.”

The pro-union side insisted that the uncertainties around the consequences of independence remained a key issue for all voters, men and women.

It added that it intended to stimulate “school-gate” conversations between women, in the belief that the uncertainties around independence will convince more women to opt for the status quo.

Scottish Labour’s Patricia Ferguson said last night: “It doesn’t matter how many groups the separation campaign sets up, they can’t hide from those difficult questions that they simply can’t answer and Scots women and men are rightly demanding answers to those questions.”