Why shoes?

@jackieme2009 explains how #WomenVotingWithOurFeet was born

Why shoes?

The idea came from when I saw a Tweet about this project that raises awareness of femicide and how the shoes take up the space lost by women murdered by men. 

It resonated deeply, particularly as our current situation in Scotland feels like women, and our rights, are being swept aside, and the voices of women outside a strictly proscribed bubble of “professional feminist” organisations continue to be ignored by policy-makers in this land.

We may as well be disappeared, and our spaces are quite literally being lost.

I had long admired the ongoing “slate protest” that I had noticed was happening from the photos on social media, and was struck by the simplicity of an action that didn’t rely on mass gatherings (not possible at this time of Covid anyway) and in which women the length and breadth of the country could participate.

A growing sense of urgency

The ribbons, and the stickers and the messages written on the slates, are beautiful and heartfelt and project an effective message into the culture that #womenwontwheesht

I thought about the creativity of women’s protest. A creativity born of the current constraints and the constraints of many women – the double labour of jobs and family, for example – at any time and imagined a time when women would be able to finally gather en masse to create something quite extraordinary.

Women could not afford to wait for the promised ‘listening to women’

With the Scottish election looming, and my suspicion that, at best, there will be no significant change in the political make-up of the Scottish Parliament, and that the policies that have caused women so much angst over the past few years will be railroaded through without politicians really listening to us, I felt a growing sense of urgency.

Women could not afford to wait for the promised “listening to women” .

We needed to make it known to prospective candidates of all parties NOW that our votes cannot be taken for granted and that there is a groundswell of women who were considering *not voting at all*.

Why would turkeys vote for Christmas? Why would women vote for anyone who is not prepared to stand with us?

Women giving their time and creativity

So the idea of shoes standing for absent women (literally and metaphorically) and with the song “These Boots Are Made For Walking” ringing in my ears – and in the absence of anyone else suggesting this – I Tweeted this out into the world:

A group of amazing women came together and worked so hard and collaboratively, giving generously of their time and creativity. And the rest, as they say, is Herstory.

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