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Women supporting women.

As a young woman in politics I have found myself constantly frustrated at the lack of targeted support, networking and opportunities to build friendships in this sphere and so, as is a common theme in my life, I have taken that frustration and channelled it into action - creating the very support I have so desperately needed and wanted.

Politics can be so incredibly challenging, not least for women who are, at best, spoken for and spoken over and, at worst, ridiculed, harassed and abused. I have faced some incredibly demeaning and debilitating times during my years in politics and as I use my voice to encourage more women to become politically active, I refuse to stand back and allow them to come into this space whilst not creating the systemic support that will allow them to safely and confidently use their voice.

During lockdown, I was relentlessly harassed online by a fellow MPs staffer. I’ve been told I only got a certain job role because of how I look, apparently being ‘young and pretty’ was what caused me to be hired. I’ve been called unprofessional for sharing my future goals and ambitions. I’ve been cyberflashed. And this is just a fraction of my experiences.

Last year I faced online abuse to a level I still struggle to fathom. It was all-consuming and to be frank, it destroyed my life for some time. I removed myself from the online world, and indeed the country, vowing that I could never, and would never, be able to be involved in politics again. When I expressed the pain this situation was causing me to my then-employer, I was told I consistently play the victim. This is the language I would expect from online trolls, not from my employer and someone I thought I could trust. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I cannot fully articulate the lasting damage these words have caused me.

And yet, slowly but surely I have found my space and my voice in this sphere again. I’m learning that these painful and vulnerable experiences are my strength and they are what will continue to drive me forward and motivate me.

I will never intentionally be the cause of another woman’s downfall. I will continue to create spaces where women of all backgrounds feel safe to use their voices.

This weekend I created an event for women in Edinburgh to come together, network, learn, and be empowered. It was absolutely all of those things and more. I felt such a sense of joy, pride, and calm as I spoke amongst a room of women who share my political beliefs. The presence of the First Minister and her commitment to supporting women in our party was incredibly inspiring. I look forward to working with her, and all of the wonderfully talented women, and supportive men, in our party as we work towards a fair and feminist future.


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