OVER the last 10 years, I have had quite the journey. It started in February 2013 when my marriage, faith and the whole future I had been working on fell apart, but slowly and surely over these last 10 years that future and my focus have been replaced by something else. Something greater, and certainly more liberating.

I had been a very traditional wife and homemaker as I called myself; I did mostly volunteer roles rather than paid work as I had six children, some with restricted schooling and unpredictable days where I was called upon to take them home if they weren’t coping.

I was preparing myself and my family for a life in service to God, and that was my purpose. My purpose now is liberation for all in a fair and just country. My goal is a progressive and equal independent Scotland. I almost did a 360, but isn’t that what life is – a learning journey where we aren’t afraid to grow, even if that means growing out of things? Even if that means admitting that the path wasn’t the right one? Making amends and making right?

At that breaking point in February 2013, my only daughter was serving a mission for the church. She was away for a long 18 months and I had no contact with her except for a phone call on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day. When my daughter left I was broken, and it’s a grief I hadn’t expected if I am honest. That year was brought back into sharp focus for me this past weekend.

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I will never forget the phone call on Mother’s Day 2013 with her after the marriage fall-out, and her stern but calm voice reminding me of my strength and to pull from it. Even though she wasn’t at home, she organised her five brothers to deliver breakfast and gifts to me in bed, the household management from women is so underrated and under paid… lets be honest, ... older sisters are on another level when it comes to emotional labour.

Mother’s Day is always such a hard day in many ways anyway. I lost my mother to a heart attack when she was only 49, and the shock at that time was too much to absorb. I had grieved but I don’t think it had fully hit me, until the following Mother’s Day almost 10 months later, when I was in a supermarket looking at cards for my grandmothers, and I saw the words mum, mother, mummy everywhere. I didn’t have one of those anymore, and I broke down in front of the card shelves.

I have needed a mother so many times over these last few years, but I am lucky to have so many incredibly powerful women in my life to take solace in.

Being a woman and what that means to me, how my gender has played such a significant part in everything I have done and in how I have been treated throughout life, has never been more apparent to me. The huge void of not having my mother, and the strength I see in my daughter, my friends and other women in my life just amplifies the gender injustices and inequalities I continually see.

When we discuss our lives, we are often highlighting barriers and restraints that men just don’t face.

Women supporting women, and reminding each other to straighten our crowns, is a whole other level of power that I love – a sisterhood – and that is something we need more of in this world. Any efforts to quash or subdue women will only quash and subdue the progress of the whole of society.

The National:

On Saturday I was invited to take part in an SNP women’s conference in Edinburgh. Just being in the room with so many other women who had incredible life stories to tell and share was very uplifting.

A main theme throughout was intersectionality. It wasn’t something set aside as a discussion point, but it was something which seemed to me to shout the loudest message.

We heard from the First Minister on leadership, and a message of representation and how we get women to that point was at the essence of everything we must do to progress and become more equal.

I was asked to be on the panel discussing online abuse. It has been hard to talk about most of what has occurred and the real-life consequences of that but to be able to openly speak on a topic which has blighted my job as an MSP was cathartic.

I will not be silenced, my opinion is valid – but to be consistently pursued by a cohort of people proposing to stand up for women is disgusting and ironic at the very least. Online stirring can embolden people to act, and we have seen direct instances of that in the murder of two parliamentarians – Jo Cox and David Amess – in the past few years.

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The fear of and trauma of the women sharing their stories was palpable, and in some cases, it did cause them to retreat, which was of course the purpose of the abuse.

It has been sad to see women’s aims used to add ammunition to attacks on marginalised groups.

I think of those strong and powerful women I know, and there is nothing that can take their strength away or repress them more than the isolationbeing isolated from the other minority groups which are fighting against the same power imbalance. Divide and rule is a powerful tool. It started with trans women, and now we see it coming for reproductive rights – the wedge is real.

Feminism isn’t a performative act or an exclusive club, it is the means to ensure a gender-equal world. It is for everyone to take part in and hold power structures to account; intersectional across all minority groups and of course with men on board. Much like the liberation of a country, women’s liberation comes when we include others, and build our movement on hope, not fear.