A CAMPAIGNING mum has been awarded a bursary by the Write to End Violence Against Women group, giving the aspiring writer a key role in helping to change Scotland’s culture of abuse.

Judges felt blogger Kirsty Strickland’s application stood out from all the others and now she will be writing a series of articles in The National, starting on Monday.

The campaign was launched by women’s charities Zero Tolerance, Engender, White Ribbon Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Everyday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50, Rape Crisis Scotland, the National Union of Journalists Scotland and supported by former MSP Carolyn Leckie and Women for Independence.

The awards celebrate what is good about the Scottish media while continuing to push for change and The National was delighted to be part of the judging panel and to be media partners.

Organisers are calling on the public, as well as the media, to nominate a piece of writing they feel contributes to public understanding of violence against women and does justice to survivors.

They were delighted to announce the winner of the bursary, which is on offer for the first time to unpaid writers to give them a boost in their careers, to help grow the profile of the awards campaign and raise awareness for news consumers and empower them to take action. The awards also seek to drive up standards in journalism by rewarding those who further the cause of gender equality.

Kirsty, 25, from Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, is a campaigner for women’s rights, a feminist and the mother of an 18-month-old daughter. She is studying Social Care from home while she blogs about politics and injustice.

She said: “I was delighted when I heard I had won the bursary because it is such a great campaign and so necessary. If everyone just took a little bit more notice of this it could really go a long way to changing public perception of what it means to be a victim.

“I write blogs and I am part of the Women for Independence media watch campaign so it is kind of similar in that it is about the way women are represented on current affairs programmes.

“Since having my daughter I’ve really started to write because I’ve noticed things so much more. Now, I think [how] this is going to be my daughter’s reality so what can we do about it? I hope the way I write might help change people’s attitudes because words are really powerful.

“The media has a responsibility in the way they portray certain issues. I know from speaking to friends and family that a lot of the way they think and myths around violence against women comes from what they read.”

Liz Ely, of Zero Tolerance, said: “The applications were really competitive and of very high quality but Kirsty really stood out. She came across as being impassioned and someone who would really take advantage of this brilliant opportunity.

“That, combined with some of the other work that Kirsty has been involved in, contributed in her development as a writer and we are really excited to have her on board. We wanted to encourage some up and coming writers and help support that opportunity in the last year to get their voices heard.

“We are looking at six pieces for which Kirsty will get paid for through the bursary and they will be published between now and January in The National and on Zero Tolerance’s website.

“It is a great way to promote the campaign and keeps it in the public eye while we are encouraging people to submit pieces.”

For more information, visit the website writetoendvaw.com and read Kirsty’s first of six articles on Monday entitled The Path to Progression.

Anni Donaldson: Indyref discourse highlighted sexism