Women, Scotland & Inclusion: What's next for Scotland's feminist future?

This International Women's Day, we're overjoyed to share with you four guest blogs from women across Scotland who are making meaningful steps towards women's equality. The theme of IWD this year is #InspireInclusion, & we asked our bloggers to talk about the communities and campaigns happening across the country.

graphic with a photo of Amanda Amaeshi against a background of icons incorporating the Engender logo, with text which reads Women, Scotland & Inclusion #IWD2024

Amanda Amaeshi is an activist and campaigner. She is a Young Spokesperson for Girlguiding Scotland and sits on the First Minister's National Advisory Council on Women and Girls. She is currently studying law at UCL and has been named within the young Women's Movement 30 Under 30 list, the WOW Foundation's Young Leaders Directory and Glasgow Times Young Scotswoman of the Year.

In November 2023, Engender held its Annual General Meeting, in celebration of the charity's 30th anniversary.

The event served as an excellent opportunity to appreciate Engender's impactful efforts towards gender equality in Scotland over the years whilst contemplating the future of Scotland's feminist sector.

To shed light on the latter aspect, Engender invited four speakers – Talat Yaqoob, Jenni Snell, Leslie Hills, and myself, Amanda Amaeshi – to share reflections and pose challenges. This blog highlights key points and recurring themes from the event, with the full recording available for viewing here.

Empowering Narratives: Women as Historians, Intersectional Advocacy for Marginalised Voices, and Ensuring Inclusive and Meaningful Participation

Leslie: “History is written by men for men – until recently.”

Leslie underscores the importance of affording women the opportunity to contribute to the narrative and history. Reflecting on personal experiences, Leslie notes the evolving feminist landscape, highlighting the initial lack of historical documentation. Mentioning her own book focused on a specific house's residents, she notes challenges in gathering information about women due to historical gaps. Over her lifetime, Leslie observes positive changes, with increased writings on feminism creating a recorded history that offers a more nuanced perspective.

Talat: “Intersectionality is asking us to be specific, and asking us to be outcome focused and to ensure that we are being our best selves and delivering for those who are marginalised.”

Talat explains intersectionality as recognising the compounding impacts of oppressive systems. She cautions against the term becoming a diluted buzzword and stresses its transformative potential within the feminist movement. Talat also envisions a hyper-localised approach to politics, ensuring that women have a direct influence on policy-making. She urges the feminist movement to invest more in facilitating self-advocacy and bringing decision-making power closer to women, fostering visibility and ownership within the movement.

Nurturing Growth: Feminist Mentorship and Collective Action Fuelled by Radical Hope and Optimism

Amanda: “Not everyone knows where to look to find those opportunities; not everyone has a group of politically-minded activist friends or belongs to an organisation; not everyone has their Katie [Horsburgh], a mentor-like figure.”

Reflecting on personal experiences of self-doubt and its detrimental impact, Amanda stresses the crucial role of feminist mentorship. She notes that, without adequate support and confidence, women may struggle to bring their best selves to the table, hindering the sharing of invaluable expertise and experiences, which would be a significant loss for effective feminist policy scrutiny. Amanda underscores the imperative for participation to be meaningful, equal, non-tokenistic, with tailored support addressing the unique needs of those engaged.

Jenni: “Now more than ever it’s crucial for us to come together and be intentional in building a movement of hope and courage.”

Jenni highlights the power derived from collective action and collaboration, urging the community to tightly embrace these principles as a means of instigating change and reshaping the current challenging reality of many young women struggling to have their basic rights realised. She points out the successes achieved through collaborative efforts grounded in feminist principles, citing the recent Equality and Human Rights Bill consultation as an example where various organisations united to exchange knowledge and ideas and amplify shared messages.


The session concluded with interactive audience participation. Attendees were encouraged to contemplate the highlights of the past 30 years in the Scottish feminist movement and envision the trajectory of the movement over the next 30 years, considering their individual and collective roles within it.

I encourage readers to engage in a similar reflection, contemplating their own perspectives on the past, present, and future of the feminist movement.

Guest posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Engender, and all language used is the author's own. Bloggers may have received some editorial support from Engender, and may have received a fee from our commissioning pot. We aim for our blog to reflect a range of feminist viewpoints, and offer a commissioning pot to ensure that women do not have to offer their time or words for free.

Interested in writing for the Engender blog? Find out more here.

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