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Community / Women’s convention roadshow parks up in Lerwick

The roadshow team in Lerwick on Friday morning. From left to right: Shairi Bowes, Evelyn Fraser, Agnes Tolmie, Ann Scullion and Caroline Thomson. Photo: Scottish Women's Convention

EMPLOYMENT and housing were among the most discussed topics at a Scottish Women’s Convention roadshow event in Lerwick on Friday morning as the organisation sought views on the main issues facing women locally.

A report will now be prepared on the event, which was held at the Islesburgh Community Centre and attended by around 20 women, before being distributed to the participants and MSPs.

Scottish Women’s Convention uses evidence gathered from its annual roadshow programme to inform politicians, at local and national level, on the impact of their policy decisions.

Convention chair Agnes Tolmie was one of a handful of staff who made the trip north, and she said the session was “very, very good”, with “interesting and informative” debates taking place.

“There was talk around some of the complexities of the area, around the type of work, seasonal work, zero hours, part-time work or fixed term contracts, and how that affects women, and in particular their personal finances,” she said.

“We talked a bit about housing, and there isn’t a homeless situation per se – everybody’s got a roof over their head – but it’s difficult for young people to get on the housing ladder if they don’t come from the crofting background, or they don’t have access to the bank of mum and dad.

“We also talked about the lack of affordable homes and how expensive it is to rent privately. So it was that kind of conversation, along with discussions about some of the services that you do have on the island, and some of the issues around the use of drugs.”

Other topics of conversation included the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) movement and advocacy services.

Scottish Women’s Convention was formed in 2003 by the Scottish Government in “recognition of the need to ensure women’s voices reached policy makers”.

Staff will continue their roadshow programme in July, starting in Inverness, with the events due to take place across Scotland through to September.