Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Women in Scotland..how engaged are you?


A rainy Monday night in Glasgow and I was heading to the university of strathclyde for a Scottish women is business debate on Independence. An all woman panel and an all woman audience, talking about politics and constitutional change. Not an everyday experience. It was encouraging to see the good humour of the panel who were ; Annabel Goldie ( or Bella as I know her now!), Nicola Sturgeon, Johann Lamont and Ruth Wishart. Sally Magnasson chaired, having squeezed out a promise of good behaviour in advance. ( Nicola and Johann have previous on this!)
The discussion was energetic and stimulating. And if on occasion it flushed out the usual responses from both sides, at times we also saw the humans behind the policies. 
One questioner asked for politicians to be less partisan and Bella said but that's our job. Yes in normal circumstance it is but this debate is bigger and wider than that and probably why we all need to be more engaged. Men or women. 
We know statistics mould in the hands of the deliverer and we should not be surprised when if challenged they defend them. But what about the policies we would want to see and where is the best place for the power to sit to deliver them? Where are those discussions happening? Some of them did come up in that room but it will need more than politicians to secure that, we all need to play our role. Can we have discussions like this one but move beyond who will offer what and on to the kind of Scotland we want to see. To ensure the politicians are not just in telling mode but in listening too. 
On my way back on the train I realised what I would love to do is to be part of another type of event which involves discussions not only on what business needs but what our society needs. We aren't just an economy, whilst I  know its important, we are a society, a community ,a culture and constitutional change will impact on all of that.
So I'm calling to interested in women in the public sector, third sector and indeed no sector, to get involved too. Let's get together and discuss the Scotland we want to see, not merely a debate, a discussion where women can engage in informed discussion and and enable them to make their decision about constitutional change.
Interestingly the vote at SWiB event changed, a test was done of before and after. The yes vote lowest initially at 19%, the no at 55% and the rest undecided. By the end of the debate the yes vote was 31%, no had dropped to 52% and some of the undecideds remained. I understand that is not an untypical trend when people get the chance to engage with the information and range of opinion.
So come on women out there. Let's take the chance to learn more, engage and shape our thinking. Our vote is going to be pivotal, it's not just our future, it's our children's and their children's future too. We owe them to give this our full attention and make our choice with knowledge.
You can tweet me on AudreyBirt or leave a message on my blog if you want to help. And watch this space for more information...
   

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