TODAY I thought I would do something I tend not to do – write about something really personal. Of course, the personal can be political and in this case it is.

Recently I thanked the Kinross-shire branch, and their wonderful convener, my dear friend Walt Hopkins, for their kind nomination of me as SNP national women’s and equalities convener, but declined their invitation to stand.

I am immensely privileged to have held this post for seven years and particularly chuffed to be the first person elected to the position. I am proud to have initiated the inception of our SNP Women’s Conference and SNP Equalities Conference, the latter being a first for any political party. And most of all, I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with the SNP’s women’s and equalities officers across all branches up and down the country, as well as a variety of external organisations whose input has been invaluable. This teamwork has been as uplifting as it has been successful.

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I pay tribute to fellow national conveners with whom I have worked over a period of time to deliver the Women’s Academy training events up and down Scotland and in all weathers! In particular, Fiona McLeod, Julie Hepburn and councillor Susan Aitken. We called ourselves the “Saltire Sisters”, I think others did too!

The party has the benefit of a huge pool of talent to choose from at our annual conference in October. Looking forward, I await the election of the next national women’s and equalities convenor with much interest and hope for the future. However, my reasoning to not seek re-election is of some political import and should be considered by my successor and indeed by the SNP and Scotland as a whole.

The SNP as a party have been groundbreaking on equality issues as far as parliamentary representation is concerned. Of course, parliamentary representation is not the heart of equality. The right of all citizens to be fairly and equally treated is much more important. The right of everyone to a decent start in life, a good education and an even break is arguably more fundamental than the tartan of their parliamentarians. But how a political party presents itself in Parliament does matter. It tells a great deal about the nature of the party and through it, the nature of society.

In the last few years we have transformed the parliamentary face of the party in gender terms following on from the vanguard of Winnie Ewing, below, and Margo MacDonald. The role of women in the political organisation has been entrenched through the Women’s Academy training events. It provides a forum where women can burnish their skills in an encouraging atmosphere, equipping them to break what is left of the glass ceiling.

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On sexual orientation, our progress has also been substantial. I rather liked the cool reply of Alex Salmond to a gruesome Westminster hack who confronted him days after the 2015 election with a “survey” showing that the 56 of us had a higher gay percentage than any other parliamentary party. “The SNP excel in all things,” he said.

Similarly, the SNP took major steps forward with Scotland’s minority communities from the late 1990s onwards. As the first Muslim MSP there could not have been a finer role model than the lovely Bashir Ahmed. We have replaced Labour not just as the dominant political force but also as the party of choice for Scots Asians. These successes do not happen by accident. They were worked for, planned for and gained by effort, consultation, and by reaching out to our diverse communities as well as strategic design. It makes the party look and therefore think like the Scotland we seek to represent. However, noticeably missing from this progress are BAME women. Look around the Scottish Parliament. How many women of colour are SNP MSPs? None. How many from other parties? None. How many Government special advisers? None. How many SNP researchers? Perhaps one or two.

In 1892, Dadabhai Naoroji was elected as Liberal MP for Central Finsbury. In a short stint in Parliament he supported votes for women, pensions for the elderly, Irish Home Rule and the abolition of the House of Lords.

In 2015, I was elected as SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire. In a short stint in Parliament I supported fair pensions for the WASPI woman, Scottish independence and the abolition of the House of Lords.

When Dadabha was defeated, the torch of non-white representation was passed onto another Bombay-born man, Mancherjee Bhownagree. However, if we are honest, there is limited evidence that the SNP has a long line of potential women of colour waiting to pick up the SNP parliamentary torch. We have work to do. For now, representative democracy is an oxymoron. If the Holy Roman Empire wasn’t holy, Roman or an empire the representative democracy without key sections of our community is neither representative nor democratic.

And therefore, having completed my seven-year service as women’s and equalities convener, I am itching to focus on the personal issue so close to my heart. And that is encouraging the emergence of a cadre of women of colour ready and willing to take their place as representatives of a truly national movement which reflects the face of all of Scotland.