Women for Independence Statement on the appointment of Humza Yousaf as leader of the SNP.
We welcome the news that Humza Yousaf has been elected the new leader of the SNP. We believe he will uphold and advance the rights of all women in Scotland.
Women for Independence – Independence for Women has taken no part in the leadership debate as an organisation nor have we publicly, as a body, endorsed any candidate, in line with our status as a campaign group made up of members from many political affiliations and of none.
As intersectional feminists, we oppose any attempts to marginalise, disenfranchise and disempower any groups in society and will rigorously defend the rights and equalities of minorities in Scotland. We believe Humza Yousaf shares our ambitions and we look forward to meeting with him in the first few weeks of his tenure and working with him to make these ambitions a reality.
Humza has consistently argued in favour of the progressive values embraced by the Scottish government and shared by Women for Independence and that it is not enough to simply protect those advances already made. We must work to further extend those rights. We want to see the establishment of buffer zones around women’s health facilities and an end to the situation where women needing a late termination have to travel south of the Border to receive it.
We also welcome Humza’s commitment to removing abortion from the criminal sphere and placing it firmly where it belongs within health. A woman’s choice is a matter for her and her doctor not the criminal justice system. We watched the rhetoric around women’s issues during the leadership contest with rising dismay and as such we are happy that women’s rights remain in safe hands.
Independence for Scotland is a feminist issue. We came into existence to promote the benefits of Independence for women. We believe that only through control of the full powers that come with being a nation free from the shackles of Westminster’s patriarchal and anarchic systems will life for women and girls in Scotland meet its full potential.
We envisage an independent Scotland that has social justice at its heart, and we applaud the stellar work done by the Scottish Government to date on keeping human rights at the heart of our ambition for Scotland to take its place as a world leader in human rights legislation. We campaign for a number of issues affecting women and girls under the existing constitutional arrangements, for a socially-just, inclusive, equitable society where women and girls, as the majority of our population, are treated with respect and dignity and live in a society which will maximise our potential.
We are relieved to note that Humza Yousaf will vigorously pursue the repeal of the Section 35 order to halt the GRR Bill a piece of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. This out and out assault on Scottish democracy cannot and must not be tolerated. We would wish to make clear our strong opposition to the UK Government Section 35 order, too much of the public and media debate and discourse around this bill has been shaped by misinformation on what the bill will actually mean in practice. We, together with the majority of women’s, equalities and human rights organisations in Scotland have shown clear, support for this legislation throughout the many years of its development and debate.
There are currently a number of very real and ongoing threats to women’s rights and lives in Scotland, including but not limited to poverty, the costs of energy, the current cost of living crisis, the UK’s cruel rape clause, cuts to essential services for women and girls and of course, the experiences of refugee women. The GRR bill is not one of those threats. This legislation will significantly improve the lives of trans people while having no impact on women’s services or the operation of the Equality Act.
In common with other women’s organisations in Scotland, Women for Independence is open to all self-identifying woman as it has been since its foundation. We are proudly an inclusive feminist campaign organisation seeking independence for Scotland and independence for women in a gender-just society. That is best achieved when we work together to dismantle the patriarchal systems that impose barriers to full equality for all women.
Women for Independence | Independence for Women