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All of Engender’s latest news. Reports, reviews, books, articles, and information from across Scotland’s women’s sector.

We would love to hear from other feminists around Scotland. Check out our guidelines for more information on how you can blog for us.


Let's champion the achievements of those working for women's equality, while also challenging the cynicism of companies seeking to profit from this labourWomen’s campaign groups, equalities organisations, and individual gender advocates in Scotland do amazing things, often with very limited resources, and little attention. We are planning to highlight some of the people and groups making women’s equality happen, to celebrate their work and inspire others to take action. We’ll be doing this on Monday using the hashtag


One of the reasons we are doing this is because we have seen a surge in awards events and ceremonies that are more focused on turning profit than championing the hard work of the equalities sector in Scotland (you can read one example of that here - 'Creative Oceanic', the company mentioned in this article, are also running the Scottish Women's Awards). Often these awards will claim that nominations come from the public, but we have yet to see evidence of this on their social media channels, and they often give no information on how categories are decided or judged. To attend the "glamorous" awards ceremony, dedicated women's and equalities campaigners are asked to pay upwards of £100 per seat - illustrating just how little they understand about a sector in need of significant funding (nominees are given one complimentary ticket).

On the Engender: Gender Matters in Planning

As we continue to look at gender and public space on On the Engender, our podcast host Alys Mumford is joined by an panel of feminist voices to consider why gender matters in planning.

Here she writes on why it's so important that women are included at all levels of planning decisions:

We all have an opinion on planning. Whether we get frustrated at how far the nursery is from the residential home, feel smug at knowing a hidden cut-through which doesn’t appear on the maps, or have regular arguments with the local Starbucks about why we have to use their bathrooms because the local council shut down all the public toilets. And once you notice how bad some planning decisions are for women, you start seeing them everywhere.

Speak out even though your voice shakes

Our Communications and Engagement Manager Alys Mumford blogs about the importance of bystander action in preventing inequality.

Elin Ersson refusing to sit down

Since I saw the video of Elin Ersson preventing the deportation of a man to Afghanistan from Sweden a few days ago, I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head. When I tell people about it I get goosebumps. It gives me hope in a world where hope seems naïve.

As young women, we are told not to take up space. To sit down and shut up, and never, never to inconvenience others. Elin does none of these things.

Just imagine the bravery that takes. You know that people on the flight are keen to get home, to start their holidays, to visit loved ones. You know that flight attendants are just doing their jobs, and have enough to deal with without this. You know that there are children on the flight who are scared (more by the shouting man who just stole your phone, than by your calm act of bravery). You know that you are drawing attention to yourself online, with all of the dangers that poses for women.

And still you stay standing, voice shaking, to save a life.

Four things you need to know about CEDAW

What would you tell the CEDAW committee?

This week, Engender's Executive Director Emma Ritch is in Geneva at the pre-sessional working group of the CEDAW Committee. To help you get your head around the mystery that UN Committees can appear to be, here are four things you need to know about CEDAW.

If you had between two and three minutes to tell the UN's women's rights committee which issues for women in Scotland they should be focusing on, what would you say? It's one of the odder tasks in women's rights advocacy, and one that we'll be taking on in Geneva in Monday.

1. CEDAW is the Bill of Rights for Women

The Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a UN Convention that was developed at the tail end of the 1970s, and was ratified by the UK Government in 1986. Known as the international bill of rights for women, its articles include equal protection for women and equality of access to education, the law, political power and representation, economic resources and social security, and a whole raft of other areas of life. Like other international obligations, its legal status is somewhat murky when it comes to individuals. You can't go along to a Sheriff court in Scotland and assert your CEDAW rights, but courts can consider it when they're making some types of decision (for more info on how CEDAW could help women's rights be realised in Scotland, see our report here.)

The UN CEDAW Committee itself can also sit as a court of inquiry when systemic breaches of rights are taking place, or a kind of court of last resort when individuals have exhausted every legal remedy in their own state. There are some examples of this below.

On the Engender: Gender Matters in Public Transport

This month's episode of On the Engender, Scotland's feminist policy podcast, our host Alys Mumford is joined by some excellent feminist voices to take a deep dive into why gender matters in public transport.

Here she writes on her passion for public transport and why it's so important, even if it's not always the first gendered issue to come to mind:

Whenever my sister in law visits me, she brings a copy of 'the Buzzer', Vancouver's public transport pamphlet. When the Borders' Railway reopened, a friend and I made use of it on the first weekend it was running. When I travelled to Dublin to campaign for #Repealthe8th, I chose a 10 hour bus and boat journey over flying. And I still proudly carry my platinum ticket from the first day of the Edinburgh trams. So it's probably fair to say that I fall fairly firmly into the category of public transport geek.

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Related publications

Gender Matters in Social Security: Individual Payments of Universal CreditGender Matters in Social Security: Individual Payments of Universal Credit A paper calling on the Scottish Government to automatically split payments of Universal Credit between couples, once this power is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Gender Matters Manifesto: Twenty for 2016Gender Matters Manifesto: Twenty for 2016 This manifesto sets out measures that, with political will, can be taken over the next parliamentary term in pursuit of these goals.

Scottish NGO Briefing for UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against WomenScottish NGO Briefing for UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Joint briefing paper for the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

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