Rachel is 18, is taking a year out before university to potentially study politics, she’s using this time to get lots of experience and is working with Women 5050 to support this. Rachel is our new volunteer blog editor and will be coordinating our ask for supporters, campaigners and equalities champions to write for us. Interested? Get in touch below:
Hello! My name is Rachel Fergusson and I am excited to join Women 5050 as Volunteer Blog Editor in 2018. I first heard about Women 5050 during a work experience placement at the Scottish Parliament, where I was lucky enough to listen to Women 5050 give evidence at a committee meeting on the Gender Representation on Public Boards Bill. As a young feminist, frustrated by stalling progress on equal representation, I was inspired to contact the chair of Women 5050 and become involved in the campaign.
As 2017 draws to a close, we can reflect on year in which three of Scotland’s largest parties were led by women – a surreal and extraordinary moment in Scottish politics which cemented the normalisation of women in executive positions of power. While this visibility is to be celebrated, it has created an illusion of progress that remains absent at lower levels of politics and across public life. Amongst the headlines of 2017 was the conspicuous failure of the local council elections to turn out more than 30% female Councillors, making the need for action more critical than ever. Too often, rhetorical commitment to gender equality is undermined by reluctant support for material measures that address structural inequality at its core. Women 5050 is absolutely necessary in turning these words into deeds.
Though legal quotas are the only basis on which we can uproot structural inequality, and on which a non-discriminatory meritocracy can exist, the concept is subjected to a host of myths that persistently frustrate progress. In a recent poll, only 23% of the public supported quotas, largely because legislated action is so deeply entangled with the notion that quotas promote ‘positive discrimination’ and inevitably lead to mediocracy. I aim to use this blog to demystify the concept of gender quotas, which, when understood clearly and in context, are neither radical or controversial, and are simply the fairest way to draw the most talent from our parliament and public bodies. As Editor, I am looking forward to promoting voices that are conducive to this change. For legitimate progress to be made, the conversation about the need for legislative solutions must be dynamic and inclusive, and should not be generated by those in the political sphere alone. I hope that this blog can be a platform that reaches beyond that narrow domain, and unites voices from political, public and grassroots levels in support of action on equal representation.
If you have any ideas or would like to contribute by writing a guest blog, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org (any questions about the specifics of the campaign go to email@example.com)
See you soon!