Highland MP Drew Hendry invited a group of women of all ages to come down to the Chieftain Hotel in Inverness to share their views and ideas on a wide range of topics, focusing primarily on the Cost of Living Crisis.
Research conducted earlier this year by the Living Wage Foundation found that women are more likely to be affected by the Cost of Living than men due to a range of factors including being more likely to be on a zero hours contract and be paid less than the real living wage.
And mental health charity Mind found that nearly three-quarters of women say that their mental health has suffered as a result of the crisis, with 48% reporting they feel depressed and over half are struggling to sleep.
During the event, the participants, who came from across all areas of the Highlands, first answered a series of questions about their top priorities to help inform the discussion. The Cost of Living Crisis was almost unanimously agreed upon as a key issues, with energy bills, healthcare and Scottish Independence also being common themes.
Mr Hendry says this is the latest of a series of initiatives he has implemented over the Summer Parliamentary Recess period that enables him to keep informed of the issues that matter most to those he represents.
One of the participants, Heather McGowan, said after the event:
“So often you feel like your voice isn’t heard and you aren’t being listened to. Being able to talk to Drew as part of the group felt really energising and I know from talking to the others that we share the feeling of true, meaningful engagement – something which is lacking in our politics unfortunately.
Drew Hendry MP said:
“I’m hugely grateful to all the women who came along to the Chieftain the other night to take part in what turned out to be a really energising and invigorating event.
“These were real, everyday people sharing their own priorities and their own lived experiences in a safe space – an invaluable way for me, as an elected representative, to spend a couple of hours in the evening.”