On the blog today, Emma Gascoigne from Scottish Women's Aid introduces us to the inspiring women associated with the Women’s Aid movement in Scotland, who persisted in the face of adversity.
Women are all too often written out of history. Their contributions to society overlooked and their achievements relegated to the shadows. It’s a story women are very familiar with. We don’t see ourselves represented in the history books or memorialised by plaques and statues. We’re left with the impression that Scotland, as a nation, was built on the ingenuity and accomplishments of men alone. That’s why, when I first heard about the #Scotswummin project back in January, it put a huge smile on my face.
I’m currently working on a women’s heritage project, Speaking Out: Recalling Women’s Aid in Scotland, and definitely feel there’s a positive groundswell of projects and research focused on highlighting the impact that women have had and continue to have in shaping Scottish society and communities. We have to make the effort to recognise and celebrate the importance and influence of Scottish women over the years and #Scotswummin is set to be instrumental in that mission.
Speaking Out is a Heritage Lottery Funded partnership project between Scottish Women’s Aid (Scotland’s national domestic abuse charity), Glasgow Women’s Library, Women’s History Scotland and the University of Glasgow Centre for Gender History. We’ve been collecting oral history interviews with people who have been associated with the Women’s Aid movement in Scotland over its 40+ years of history. So far, we’ve interviewed women who helped set up local Women’s Aid groups, current managers and workers, service users, politicians and academics who were influential in pushing forward the domestic abuse agenda.
We’re sharing the information and stories we’ve been gathering through a touring exhibition, project film, young people’s learning resource, publication and Scotland-wide programme of events. You can find out more about the project and view the film on our website www.speakingout.womenslibrary.org.uk and by connecting with us on Twitter @SpeakingOut_SWA.
There have been so many incredibly inspiring women associated with the Women’s Aid movement in Scotland, who persisted in the face of adversity – unsympathetic local councils, apathy from the police, denigration in the press – to successfully establish services to support women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse and to change the ways in which Scottish society understands and talks about domestic abuse. This tradition is carried on by the many current Women’s Aid workers spread all over Scotland, from Dumfries and Galloway to Shetland, who work to provide information, support and temporary refuge accommodation for women and their children and also by the call handlers at the National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (0800 027 1234) who provide confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The women of Women’s Aid in Scotland, both past and present, are all inspirational #Scotswummin, champions of women’s rights and tireless campaigners for the eradication of domestic abuse. A world without domestic abuse is not just a dream, it’s a possibility.