Women took centre stage at the launch of the ALBA party’s Women’s conference. ALBA released its official policy manifesto on equalities. We attach it below for the benefit of voters, particularly those concerned by the other parties’ positions on women’s rights.
Extracts from key speakers
ALBA, Scotland’s fastest growing political party has launched its Women & Equalities Policy Statement following its first ever Women’s Conference on Saturday 10 April.
Launching the ALBA Women and Equalities policy statement Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, ALBA Candidate for Central Scotland said:
This is the policy statement women in Scotland have been waiting for and will speak to many women who feel their voices have been sidelined in the debates that have taken place in the Scottish Parliament on the forensic examination of women, hate crime and the proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act. A majority of ALBA’s candidates in this Election, 18 in total are women, who if elected will tip the balance, in the Scottish Parliament in favour of Womens sex based rights.
“ALBA acknowledges that no single protected characteristic is more virtuous or more worthy of recognition and safeguarding than another. They are all fundamentally important, each on their own, and as a collective”.
Cllr Caroline McAllister, ALBA Candidate for West Scotland, a former SNP Womens Convenor, past Deputy Convenor of West Dunbartonshire Council who was “Violence Against Women” Ambassador said:
“The launch of this ALBA Women and Equalities statement is an important milestone for Women in Scotland. It sends the clearest possible signal that Women will not be silenced for defending their sex based rights. It also calls a halt to the repeated and continued abuse women experience every day just for expressing their legitimate concerns about the attempts to erode their existing rights in law, such as the Equality Act 2010”.
Cllr Lynne Anderson, a former SNP Equalities Convenor and ALBA Candidate in Central Scotland said:
“This statement provides vital recognition of the need for women and girls to have privacy and dignity in every aspect of their lives, including access to refuges, changing rooms, toilets and prison cells. ALBA are standing up for women, and for that reason, more and more women are backing ALBA in this Election”.
Speaking after the ALBA Women’s Conference Rhona Hotchkiss, a former Director of the Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit and a Former Prison Governor said:
“The single most important thing Alba could do for women in Scotland would be to recognise the sex-based nature of the oppression, discrimination and violence against them. If Alba is serious about being a party that stands up for women, it must work to protect single-sex spaces, services and sports, applying the terms of the 2010 Equality Act”.
Also speaking after the Conference Professor Nighet Riaz who is a researcher and educator at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), a published author, political and community activist. said:
“As a woman of colour, I am enjoying speaking at Alba’s Women’s Conference and discussing my research on racism, and how it is framed and enacted through our policies, reports, our social systems, structures and institutions. I shared stories where women of colour navigate ‘work spaces’, highlighting the barriers and challenges they face at each level of recruitment, retention and promotion. Working collectively with activists and allies, I dream and work towards a post-racial society, but we still have a fair distance to go. We can only get ‘there’ by working together.”
Speaking at the Conference Eva Comrie, ALBA Candidate for Mid Scotland and Fife said:
“Professional experience as a family and child law specialist, and personal experience as an amputee and frequent visitor to hospitals and clinics, tell me that women and girls need safe spaces today just as much as ever. Those are especially important where there has been trauma or abuse or where there are illness and other vulnerabilities”.
Stephanie Reilly, ALBA Candidate for Mid Scotland and Fife said:
“As the youngest Alba candidate, I am standing to give young people a voice. Independence is the only way to begin to change the inequalities that young, less-privileged women face. I believe that empowering young women and building a fairer country for them is vital. Encouraging young women to pursue their dreams without the burden of poverty and discrimination is top of my priority list. ALBA strives to achieve a country in which we are all equal to one another”.
POLICY STATEMENT: ALBA Women & Equalities Policy Statement
The ALBA party recognises that by dint of birth andhappenstance, we are not all created nor do we live our lives asequals. Scotland’s history involves multiple injustices where chance or privilege have dictated outcomes, and today, poverty continues to be the biggest driver of inequality and a blight onour society. These days should by now be past. Surely this modern world and an independent Scotland can cater for all without loss to any.
The Scotland ALBA strives to create, envisions a level playingfield where we can become truly equal to each other and where everyone’s rights are respected and protected, but, vitally, not at the cost of others.
The Ten Tenets
1: ALBA undertakes to protect and preserve women’s rights, not at any expense to others, but as a safeguardfor women and girls.
2: ALBA believes women have the right to discuss all policies which affect them, without being abused and silenced.
3: ALBA believes women have the right to maintain their sex based protections as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female only spaces such as changing rooms, hospitalwards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostelsand prisons.
4: ALBA believes women have the right to refuse consent to males in single sex spaces or males delivering intimate services to females such as washing, dressing and counselling.
5: ALBA believes women have the right to single sex sports to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.
6: ALBA believes women have the right to organise themselves according to their sex class across a range of cultural, leisure, educational and political activities.
7: ALBA acknowledges and promotes all of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 which are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership,pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and sex.
8: Crucially, ALBA understands the controversy and pain whichhave characterised Scotland’s recent attempts at reform; there has been much heat and at times little light.
9: ALBA invites and will endorse a citizens’ assembly on howbest to reform the Gender Recognition process in a respectful, sensitive and positive fashion.
10: ALBA acknowledges that no single protected characteristic is more virtuous or more worthy of recognition and safeguarding than another. They are all fundamentally important, each ontheir own, and as a collective.
All women are equal.
NOTE: Highlighting by GB editor