Women on the march

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Thanks to the Gude Cause for letting us use an image from their website.

Some things change. A hundred years ago women were marching up Princes Street demanding the vote.  Tomorrow perhaps more than 4000 women, men and children will be celebrating the occasion and this time they will include women who have been voted into parliament and local government.

They represent all political parties, as the Gude Cause press release points out; there’s Fiona Hyslop,  Scottish Government education secretary, speaking at the Calton hill rally, and marchers including  Sarah Boyack MSP, Marlyn Glen MSP, Johann Lamont MSP, Cathy Peattie MSP, Shirley Ann Somerville MSP and Catherine Stihler MEP (Patrick Harvie will be with them to carry the banner for the Green Party)

All of them dressed in the green, white and purple (Give Women Votes) colours of the suffragettes as they join a parade which is split into three sections representing past, present and future.

“We are wearing purple because we are in the ‘past’ section of the march,” says Angela Blacklock, Labour councillor for Leith,  “Wearing purple will be a challenge for many as it is a colour which as women we tend not to have a lot of!” [maybe that depends on your age! Ed]

While a carnival spirit celebrates achievements  (look for Pipe Major Louise Marshall Millington and policewomen on horses joining choirs, samba and jazz bands  sporting sashes and banners  in purple white and green) there is a reminder of present realities. And a future section of the march acknowledges there is still a lot to be done.

In Westminster only 20 per cent of MPs are women. The Scottish Parliament is doing better with 35 per cent. That’s not bad, as Cathy Peattie (Labour) said in Holyrood earlier this year but she urged parliament to do more to advance the social, political and economic equality of women.

“That [35 per cent] is up on the figure in 2007, thanks to the two new Scottish National Party women, but is still down on the figures of 39 per cent in 2003 and 37 per cent in 1999. In spite of the high number of women who are active in communities, we still remain under-represented in local government and central Government.”

Maybe this is a good opportunity to plug the Opening Doors shadow scheme which is well supported by women from many different communities and is always open to new applicants. See you on the march!

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