International Women’s Day Statement of Solidarity with Joanna Cherry (by Men Supporting Women’s Rights)

Men Supporting women’s rights

International Women’s Day Statement of Solidarity
with Joanna Cherry (and other women abused for speaking out).

Men Supporting Women’s Rights was set up in 2019 to challenge the new expressions of misogyny that have emerged in recent years. We are men from a wide range of backgrounds, sexualities and political opinions drawn together by a shared concern at the very negative implications that extremist ‘gender identity’ ideology has for women and girls. This ideology has, under the guise of ‘progressiveness’ captured powerful institutions across society with alarming speed and with almost no public discussion. The lack of public discussion is a product of fear. Anyone who openly challenges the new orthodoxy is likely to be subjected to a campaign of lies, vilification and threats of violence. As men we see it as important that we stand up and be counted by standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the many courageous women who have defied the bullies and continued to speak the truth.

The most high-profile example in recent times has been the continual harassment, abuse and threats of sexual violence, including death threats, aimed at Joanna Cherry MP. These threats have come from numerous gender ideologues, shockingly some of them fellow members of the SNP. One recent threat from a party member has lead to a criminal investigation and an arrest. This campaign of misogynist bullying targeted at a Lesbian feminist politician has now been going on for years. It is calculated to send a clear message to all women: “Shut up and accept our dictatorial worldview or we will destroy you”.

One of the most appalling aspects of this has been the utter absence of any condemnation of these sickening threats from the leadership of the SNP. Ms. Cherry has received no support, solidarity or offers of protection from her party bosses. Indeed Nicola Sturgeon, who appears willing to stake her reputation on allowing any man to legally self-identify as a woman simply by making a declaration, has made her own thinly-veiled attack on Ms Cherry in a video in which she accused her own party of “transphobia”. And last month’s proposed amendments to the controversial Hate Crime Bill that might have afforded some protection to gender-critical women like Ms Cherry from prosecution for “stirring up hatred” were suddenly abandoned by the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, after more threats from gender fanatics.

We conclude from all this that in effect the most powerful people in Scotland are, through their silence and through their actions, giving support to misogynist thugs who have no respect for women, no respect for free speech and no respect for laws against threatening, violent and abusive behaviour. Men Supporting Women’s Rights believe that this will go down in history as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the SNP and of Scottish political life.

To mark International Women’s Day the members of Men Supporting Women’s Rights want to make it clear that we are standing in solidarity with Joanna Cherry over this issue. We condemn the behaviour of many so called ‘trans-activists’ in abusing and threatening women. We condemn the cowardice and complicity of her party bosses in failing to stand up for truth and decency. We stand in solidarity with all the women who have suffered abuse for bravely speaking out against the new misogyny that is expressed through an ideology that redefines women’s very existence whilst attempting to deny them even a right of reply. We call on all men to do what they can to stand up for women’s right to maintain long established sex-based legal protections, and to offer their support to women in defining their own existence without being vilified and threatened.

MSWR

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Manifesto for Women’s Rights in Scotland to be launched

Women Speak Scotland is publishing a ‘Manifesto for Women’s Rights in Scotland’ on International Women’s Day (8 March) ahead of the Holyrood election on 6 May. The Manifesto demands the protection and implementation of women’s human and legal rights. WSS will invite all parliamentary candidates to support it.

The Manifesto affirms women’s sex-based human rights, which are enshrined in international treaties and national legislation. It includes rights related to:

  • Safety and Privacy
  • Health and Bodily Autonomy
  • Freedom of Speech and Association
  • Fairness in Sport
  • Accurate Data
  • Freedom from Male Violence and Exploitation
  • Young Women and Girls

WSS says the Scottish Government must make a commitment to uphold women’s rights, regardless of which party/parties form the next administration. WSS believes the Manifesto is necessary because recent years have seen the gradual erosion of women’s rights. A spokeswoman for the group said “Women have been fighting for our rights for over 100 years but now we are facing a serious backlash. We are seeing the advances we’ve made being watered down or removed one by one. Public bodies and organisations too often dismiss women’s concerns. Many organisations now routinely confuse ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ which has the effect of reducing or removing women’s rights.

“The Scottish Government appears to be mounting an attack on women’s rights. For example, it has recently redefined the term ‘women’ to include men in relation to the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act. The Act was intended to address the historical under-representation of women on these boards, but is seriously undermined by allowing males to take places designated for women.

“The Hate Crime Bill proposed by the Scottish Government is in its final stage and will be debated at Holyrood on Wednesday. WSS is very concerned that the Government is refusing to offer protection to female victims who are attacked because of their sex despite widespread support for this measure. As it stands, the Bill will criminalise women advocating for our sex-based rights, including the maintenance of existing legal rights. So the WSS Manifesto demand for the protection of the right to freedom of speech is essential.

“We seem to be on a slippery slope which risks making women invisible both to the law and in national statistics. For example, there is a suggestion that the next Census in Scotland will not record the population according to our sex, even though this is crucial for planning many services, or identifying inequalities such as the sex pay gap. WSS is determined to reverse this trend and make sure the voices of the majority of women in Scotland are heard.

“Scottish Parliamentary candidates should be aware that women’s votes count – we are nearly 52% of the electorate – and we intend to make sure that women’s rights and concerns are not ignored during this election, nor by the incoming government.

“We also hope the Manifesto will empower those women who aren’t yet confident being involved in politics or activism, to feel able to engage in conversation with candidates in their constituencies, by providing information about some of the most important issues facing us at present.”

Copies of the Manifesto can be downloaded from the WSS website from 8 March onwards.


In the Media

Women’s manifesto aims to put pressure on Scottish parties to ‘reaffirm sex-based rights’
Scotsman (Gina Davidson) – Sunday, 7 March 2021

Nicola Sturgeon says she was first told of allegations about Alex Salmond in 2017. I heard the rumours in 2010
Scotsman (Susan Dalgety) – Saturday, 6 March 2021

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The Law Commission consultation on Hate Crime

(Last Updated: 23 December 2020)

The Law Commission is carrying out a consultation on reforming the Hate Crime legislation in England and Wales. There are two ways to respond to the consultation – one based on the summary of the consultation paper, and another based on the full consultation paper. The public are invited to respond to either one of them by Thursday, 24 December 2020.

Consultation – SummaryConsultation – Full
Summary Paper
(24 pages)
Full Paper
(544 pages)
Respond to summary consultation
(20 questions)
Respond to full consultation
(62 questions)
PDF of 20 questionsPDF of 62 questions

We recommend that you respond to the full consultation if you can as there are some further questions related to transgender identity that are not covered by the summary version. Although most of the questions are quite technical, you do not have to answer every question in either version of the consultation. You can focus on the areas that concern you the most. The online consultation response page allows you to save your progress and return to the form later to continue filling it in.

Questions worth focusing on

This is based on the full consultation paper. Concentrate on the ones that are likely to be used to silence gender critical campaigners and women in general.

The concept of ‘serious emotional harm’ is subjective and open to misuse / abuse (as has already happened – Maya Forstater, Harry Miller, Kate Scottow, J. K. Rowling etc). Provide examples from gender critical contexts and in relation to free speech generally.

Lord Justice Sedley in Redmond-Bate v DPP, for example, stated:
Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative… Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.

The Scottow v CPS case is also helpful. “The Prosecution argument failed entirely to acknowledge the well-established proposition that free speech encompasses the right to offend, and indeed to abuse another.
From Maya Forstater’s blog post reviewing the year 2020 (which also lists other cases) – Finally in mid-December, Kate Scottow’s criminal conviction was quashed. The judges declared that the case should never have been prosecuted and the judges reasoning in finding Kate guilty was deficient. They said it would be a “serious interference” with the right of free speech if “those wishing to express their own views could be silenced by, or threatened with, proceedings for harassment based on subjective claims by individuals that felt offended or insulted”.

Question 7 – including asexuality in definition of sexual orientation.
See WhatIsAsexuality.com and Asexuality.org for information to help write response.

Question 8 – expanding definition of transgender identity from gender reassignment to explicitly include non-binary, cross-dressing and intersex.

Questions 11 to 14 – in relation to gender or sex. You can use the example of the recent amendment to the Scottish Forensic Medical Services Bill to highlight the importance of ensuring the word ‘sex’ is used.
Dear MSPs…from survivors
FWS Statement on the Vote for Lamont Amendment
Gender in practice can refer to trans identity, “genderfluidity” or a plethora of “non-binary” identities like “maverique” which cannot be easily defined in law. See “The big list of gender identities“.

Question 17 – whether sex workers should be recognised as a hate crime category.

Question 20 – whether philosophical beliefs should be recognised as a hate crime category.

Question 25 – extending the characteristics protected by aggravated offences.

Questions 31 and 32 – proposals that aggravated versions of sexual offences should not be introduced and whether legal test in the context of aggravated offences should cover more than one protected characteristic.

Questions 47 to 52, 54, 55 – related to the offences of ‘stirring up hatred’.

Notes

Q: Why is the list of protected characteristics in Equality Act and Hate Crime legislation different?
Equality Act deals with civil law while Hate Crime legislation deals with criminal law. It is Parliament that determines what the protected characteristics are, and it appears that different sets of characteristics formed the basis of the two types of legislation as they evolved over time (for example, gender reassignment in Equality Act and transgender status/identity in England & Wales Hate Crime legislation.)

Transgender identity was added to the enhanced sentencing regime in 2012.
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 – Part 3, CHAPTER 1, General, Section 65
The Law Commission wants to revise the definition of transgender identity to make explicit reference to people who are transgender, non-binary, cross-dressing or intersex.

Resources

CIVITAS – Policing Hate: Have we abandoned freedom and equality?
This report can be used to help answer some of the questions in the consultations. Part 1 describes recent examples of the impact of hate crime legislation on people/groups such as Harry Miller, Safe Schools Alliance and Posie Parker. Part 2 is a detailed analysis of the Law Commission Consultation Paper with a focus on two points in particular: the notion of equality before the law and the challenge to free expression. See also section on Hate Crime Entrepreneurs.

Nordic Model Now! Response to the Law Commission’s hate crime consultation
The NMN response focuses on specific areas of the Summary version of the consultation, but their answers can help guide either the full or summary versions of responses. One of the areas of concern is the proposal to extend the hate crime legislation to cover “sex workers” as a protected characteristic.

MBM Briefing for Stage 1 debate: Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill
Although written for the Scottish Hate Crime Bill, this report might be useful in formulating some answers as it focuses on two areas: the exclusion of sex from the hate crime protected characteristics, and aspects of the extension of the offence of stirring up hatred.

MBM Protecting Speech that Offends: Theory and Practice
Analysis of the cases of Kate Scottow, Miranda Yardley, Harry Miller and Maria MacLachlan to demonstrate how the legal system fails to protect free speech in practice.

MBM The limits of precedent and the special case of racial hatred
Analysis of why ‘stirring up hatred’ in the context of race should remain unique and not be expanded wholesale to other protected characteristics.

MBM Supplementary evidence on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill
Some examples of free speech potentially being framed as ‘stirring up hatred’ in the context of women’s rights and disagreements against transgender ideology.

People must have the ‘right to offend’ without facing a police investigation
The Telegraph – 17/12/2020

Cancel Culture Claims Gender Critical Reddit Forum
Women are Human – 03/07/2020

Why I Am Permanently Banned From Twitter And Why This Should Make You Worry
Miranda Yardley – 24/05/2018

Further resources and useful examples for submission can be found at the blog post for the Scottish Hate Crime Bill.

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Women’s rights: Prisons

(Last Updated: 17 December 2020)

Transgender women exhibit a male-type pattern of criminality: Implications for legislators and policy makers
Fair Play For Women – 12/12/2020

Opaque and overdue: the Scottish Prison Service trans prisoner policy review
Dr Kath Murray, Lucy Hunter Blackburn and Lisa Mackenzie – 02/12/2020

We need open discussion on the welfare of women in prison
Rhona Hotchkiss – 10/12/2020

Women’s prisons should be single-sex
Kate Coleman – 17/12/2020

Prisons – Fair Play For Women

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Equally Safe: Consultation on Prostitution (Scotland)

The Scottish Government held a consultation on prostitution called Equally Safe. This closed on 10 December 2020.

The Nordic Model Now! campaign group provided a simple two-step method to respond to the consultation using a template.

  • The Cross-Party Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation provided guidance in tackling the questions related to demand.
  • Nordic Model Now! published guidance on responding to all nine questions in the consultation.
  • Women’s Support Project provided briefing notes.

Resources

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New evidence that trans women have male pattern of criminality – Fair Play For Women (FPFW)

The Women and Equalities Select Committee heard from female academics on 9 December 2020 that trans women present no less a risk to women than men do, based on their pattern of criminality. Professor Rosa Freedman cited a large-scale study of crime data in Sweden, but Nicola Richards MP questioned whether this was true.

Now Fair Play For Women has uncovered new data for the prison population in England and Wales showing that trans-identifying males have a pattern of criminality similar to men, and not like that of women. The findings come from Ministry of Justice data obtained through a Freedom of Information request. They show that at least 66, and perhaps as many as 76, of 129 trans-identifying males in prison in England and Wales have one or more convictions for a sexual offence.

Fair Play For Women Ltd is a campaigning and consultancy organisation which raises awareness, provides evidence and analysis and works to protect the sex-based rights of women and girls in the UK. Founded in 2017, their work is focused on understanding when and how gender-and sex-based rights conflict in law and policy making. Their aim is to ensure everyone’s needs are fairly balanced and women and girls are not overlooked in good policy-making.

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Women and Equalities Committee: Inquiry on GRA Reform

The UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee is carrying out an inquiry into reforming the Gender Recognition Act. The deadline for their call for evidence was 27 November 2020. You can view all the published evidence here.

Guidance provided by women’s groups for written submissions:

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Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

(Last Updated: 1 April 2021)

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill is one of the most concerning pieces of legislation proposed by the Scottish Government. It has the potential to criminalise individual women and feminist groups that speak out against the erosion of women’s rights due to gender extremism.

The Free to Disagree campaign gives a brief explanation of why the Bill is problematic.

Update: The Bill passed on 11 March by a margin of 82 votes to 32. Despite some great speeches on the Wednesday and Thursday by a number of MSPs, various amendments to include ‘sex’ in the Bill and to improve the protections around free speech were rejected.


Background information

CIVITAS – Policing Hate: Have we abandoned freedom and equality?
Joanna Williams – December 2020
Download Policing Hate PDF
By exploring the history, current context and impact of hate crime legislation and drawing upon interviews with academics and campaigners, the report explores the current challenges to equality before the law and free expression.
The author concludes that there should be no extension to existing hate speech legislation. The report finds that no special ‘characteristics’ should receive legal protection in a way that violates the principle of equality under the law. The author proposes that groups with a vested interest in presenting their members as victims of hate crime should not influence hate crime legislation. A future inquiry should be held to review all elements of the law that conflict with freedom of speech.

History of Women and Hate Crime Law
For Women Scotland – 24/11/2020

The Scottish Parliament’s bill process and the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill
An explanation of how legislation is brought forward, and how various amendments and rejections can take place.

Defining transgender identity in the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill and beyond

Should ‘Variations in Sex Characteristics’ be included in the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill?

The limits of precedent and the special case of racial hatred


NEWS & ARTICLES

Councillor Lachlan Bruce: Hate Crime Bill makes Scotland a less free country
East Lothian Courier – 21/03/2021

Analysis: What’s next for the hated Hate Crime Bill?
Free to Disagree – 16/12/2020
* The government has pledged amendments to strengthen free speech protections in the bill, including on the crucial point of debate around women’s rights and transgender identity. Free speech clauses must be robust, or legitimate debate on various issues could be chilled.
* The government has also promised to further-define the term ‘abusive’ in the stirring up hatred offences.
* One issue raised in last night’s debate that could be a sticking point is the idea of a ‘dwelling defence’, protecting words spoken in the privacy of the home. This protection is written into parallel hate crime laws in England and Wales. The Justice Committee notes that the Hate Crime and 
Public Order Bill should primarily be concerned with behaviour in public. But the government seems to disagree with this. Achieving consensus on the issue will be a challenge.

The Scottish Government has made the Hate Crime Bill controversial
Jenni Davidson (Holyrood Magazine) – 01/12/2020

‘Hate Crime Bill could stop women speaking out on trans issues’
Free to Disagree – 17/11/2020
Policy analysis collective Murray Blackburn Mackenzie (MBM) raised particular concerns over the inclusion of a ‘stirring up hatred’ offence on transgender identity.


Research & analysis

MBM Briefing for Stage 1 debate: Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill
Excellent report that focuses on two areas: the exclusion of sex from the hate crime protected characteristics, and aspects of the extension of the offence of stirring up hatred.

Legislating for hatred against women: the view from the coalface
MBM analysis – 04/12/2020
Giving evidence to the Justice Committee on 27 October, the Cabinet Secretary suggested that organisations “at the coalface” were supportive of the approach advocated by the bodies funded at national level to represent women’s interests.
In total, therefore, the Scottish Government obtained the views of six groups providing VAW services locally, of which five supported including an aggravator which would cover hatred against women.
We realise that the term “coalface organisations”, as used by the Minister, is open to interpretation. Of the other non-governmental organisations attending these meetings, City of Edinburgh Council and the Fife Centre for Equalities supported an aggravator rather than a standalone offence, SACRO did not appear to take a strong line on which should be pursued, while Glasgow City Council preferred a standalone offence.
…we think it would be fairer to say that the balance of opinion among those “organisations that represent and work with women at the coalface at a local level” who engaged with the Scottish Government was overwhelmingly in favour of the Bill treating hatred against women on a par with hatred based on other characteristics, with or without further exploration of a standalone offence.

Definition of ‘transgender identity’ in draft hate crime bill
What Do They Know FOI request to Scottish Government – 25/10/2020
(Need to analyse and summarise – all correspondence between Scottish Government officials and the following organisations about the definition of ‘transgender identity’ under the  draft Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, prior to the Bill’s introduction in the Scottish Parliament: Equality Network/Scottish Trans Alliance, LGBT Youth Scotland and Stonewall)

In 2016, Nottinghamshire Police introduced a Misogyny Hate Crime policy. An evaluation on the impact of the policy was conducted two years later in 2018, and it highlighted some interesting points.

  • The Police were able to send a clear public message that behaviour which denigrates, marginalises and disrespects women is never acceptable and would be challenged. It also helped reassure women that these types of behaviours would be treated seriously by the Police if reported. See press release for more details.
  • Women felt more confident in challenging men who targeted them, as they knew they had the backing of police policy.
  • Women from BME groups often experienced misogyny hate crime and racial hate crime simultaneously and felt doubly vulnerable to attack.

The Nottinghamshire report did indicate that the use of the term ‘misogyny’ was poorly understood amongst the general public and therefore an alternative name would be a better approach. This indicates that any Hate Crime legislation should implement an easily understood term that makes it clear it is based on the characteristic of sex (and not conflate it with words like ‘gender’). In addition to the legislation, there might be some merit in nationwide campaigns to raise awareness of such laws and enable the general public to understand that hate crime involves the prejudicial targeting of people on the basis of a protected characteristic such as sex, and that it involves an assertion of power over another that is experienced as hostile behaviour rather than a narrow focus on ‘hate’.

Citizens UK – Make misogyny a hate crime

Citizens UK welcomes Law Commission’s recommendation to protect gender under hate crime laws

Citizens UK – New research shows women are three times more likely than men to experience both threats and acts of sexual violence and assault
Report – Overcoming everyday hate in the UK


Examples

The Scotsman – 22/03/2021
Great niece of SNP founder reveals she chalked women’s rights message at government HQ
“…on the evening of Wednesday, February 24, two uniformed police officers appeared at the 52-year-old’s door, asking questions about her chalk protest and, she says, suggesting that any future similar behaviour could result in a charge of breach of the peace.”

Harry Miller vs Humberside Police and the College of Policing – 14/02/2020
High Court Judgement
Pages 13-15 describes how a person who does not know Mr Miller, and has never had any interaction with him, managed to take great offence at some of his tweets on the social media platform Twitter.
Pages 15-17 details the process of how the ‘victim’ proceeded to complain to the police and which resulted in the creation of a non-crime hate incident without any scrutiny or assessment of the claims being made. A Hate Incident Record was generated against Mr Miller even though there was no crime or evidence of hate.

The Times – 19/02/2020
Offensive jokes logged in ‘non-crime’ databases
In the past five years Police Scotland has logged more than 3,300 “hate incidents” that involve no criminality.

GCN – 20/11/2020
Community leaders have launched an open letter calling for solidarity for our trans siblings on this Trans Day of Remembrance.
Letter signed by organisations such as National Women’s Council of Ireland and Amnesty International.
“Let us say unequivocally that the statements of newly launched organisations that seek to defend biology or fight gender identity and expression do not represent the wider LGBTI+ community nor feminists in Ireland. More importantly, they are not organisations at all, they have no governance, no accountability, and are simply Twitter accounts. Further, they are not supported by the wider Irish community.”
We call on media, and politicians to no longer provide legitimate representation for those that share bigoted beliefs, that are aligned with far right ideologies and seek nothing but harm and division. These fringe internet accounts stand against affirmative medical care of transgender people, and they stand against the right to self-identification of transgender people in this country. In summation they stand against trans, women’s and gay rights by aligning themselves with far right tropes and stances. They have attacked LGBT+ education in school, attacked anti-bullying campaigns, and attack access to medical services.”
“Sex and gender are both spectrums, and the full beauty of that spectrum must be supported and included.”

(Letter indicates self-id has broad societal support and was obtained transparently. Can reference IGLYO and Denton’s document on how self-id was passed in Ireland without public debate and scrutiny.)

The Edinburgh Tab – 27/11/2020
More transphobic stickers have been found on Edinburgh Uni campus
This is a good example of how someone (not even a trans person) can take offence at some stickers seen around the area and view them as ‘hate’.
The woman mentioned in the article made the statement – “I also think hate speech is not free speech so I had every right to take them down.”
There is also another important admission in the article from EUSA’s Trans and Non-Binary Liberation Officer – “Anyone who sees stickers like this should send photos to campus security, so they can be included in ongoing hate crime statistics that are reported to the police.”
This shows that people are being encouraged to report to the police any stickers that they personally and subjectively deem to be ‘hateful’ or ‘offensive’ or ‘upsetting’. This will potentially inflate the hate crime statistics.
What happens when Hate Crime legislation is brought in and such stickers are viewed as ‘stirring up hatred’?

BBC News – 11/12/2020
Terror trial told of ‘incels’ cyber-culture backing attacks on women
This is a very clear (and ongoing) example of a hate crime on the basis of sex by inciting violence against women, and yet because ‘sex’ is not listed as a characteristic in the Hate Crime legislation, this fact will not be used as an aggravating factor during sentencing, nor will this crime be captured in hate crime statistics.


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There’s been an outbreak of slates…

Wonderful messages written on slates have been appearing all over Scotland, thanks to some adventurous women. Do you think you can spot some of the slates for yourselves? If you do, share your pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #WomenWontWheest.

The Edinburgh Reporter ran a brief article on the campaign – National campaign arrives in Edinburgh (22 November 2020)

You can view all the pictures on our Flickr photostream and we have also grouped many of them into albums by areas around Scotland. WSS takes no credit for the Slate Women campaign. We are simply collecting together images of the efforts of women taking action by themselves and with others.

Flickr Photostream

FLICKR ALBUMS (SLATES BY AREAS)

You can join the campaign too! Scotland is never short of slates. Find a few pieces, give them a good clean and then write messages on them using paint. It can be about women’s rights, freedom of speech, quotes from books, or your thoughts and concerns in your own words. Place the slates in locations where you think other people might come across them. If you are able to, you can drill some holes around the edges of the slates so they can be secured with plastic ties to help them stay in place.

Take pictures of your artistic accomplishment (make sure you zoom in so the written message is easy to read) and send them to us at info@womenspeakscotland.com with a rough idea of the location. We will add it to the rest of the online collection.

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