CARLA J Easton is a singer, songwriter and musician. Her songs are the kind of pop that float along a neon river, soft and warm with a crunchy edge, but as she’s quick to point out, “pop can be political”. For Carla, who at her 30th birthday party was called “nationalist scum” by a distant relative (someone you imagine doesn’t get invited to many family gatherings) political views have come to transcend her personal and public personas.

“I didn’t used to speak publicly about my political views,” she says. “I’ve spent my adult life in DIY bands, working to incredibly fine margins, so you don’t want to alienate anyone. When Teen Canteen were together we did a few National Collective events, but we didn’t really promote our involvement too much.

“Politics has always been part of my lyrics, but I want listeners to find their own meaning. I started getting political at the last General Election. Enough was enough. I don’t want to be didactic, but I have to use whatever platform I have to try to show people that empathy isn’t dead.”

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Being a musician is a dream for so many. For Carla, it began when she borrowed (and never returned) her older brother’s The Vaselines CD. “I heard Frances McKee sing in a Scottish accent and it gave me this liberating feeling that, ‘I can do that, I can be a singer in a band’.”

Whoever you want be, whatever you want to do in life and wherever you want to go, a role model acts as a tether to your dreams. The absence of female role models from public life can act as a barrier to many young women and girls realising their dreams.

At 16, Carla somehow managed to convince her parents to allow her to go to T in the Park. Onstage, she saw The Polyphonic Spree, one of the most psychedelic and symphonic acts of the early 2000s. Seeing so many women on stage cemented the idea that this was where Carla wanted to be.

To some extent, Carla has achieved her dream. She is a musician, she has a stage and a loyal fan base – but the reality of life in music isn’t always what Carla thought it would be.

She says: “I’ve been in meetings with managers who only want to talk about what you’ll be wearing – that doesn’t happen with guys. I’ve heard of girl bands not getting signed because the record label told them they didn’t want to deal with all the ‘maternity shit’. This is the reality of being a woman in music and probably other walks of life, too.”

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But what of those whose dreams lie somewhere else, like politics for example? You can look to Finland where prime minister Sanna Marin and her government are leading the way for women in politics. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel is, and has been for sometime, one of the most powerful people in the world.

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At home, Nicola Sturgeon remains one of the most inspiring world leaders and an example to young women across the country.

However, the fact MSPs Aileen Campbell and Gail Ross are standing down at the next Holyrood election because their job isn’t accordant with family life shows we’re beyond the point where we need to make politics more compatible with real life. In the Yes movement, Women for Independence has, since it was formed in 2012, been a leader in helping women to organise in their communities in pursuit of a fairer society in Scotland.

Their support, training and activism for like-minded women throughout Scotland, and internationally, helps create community role models to inspire those around them.

The National: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in Davos, Switzerland

Wherever we find role models, one person’s name comes up time and again. Carla says: “My eight-year-old niece is obsessed with Greta Thunberg. She’s got this yellow rain jacket she calls her ‘Greta coat’ and knows everything about climate change. She talks about mindfulness, recycling and the importance of downtime … hearing the way young people speak, I have so much hope for the future.”

Thunberg may be a role model to youngsters across the world, but while many of us see hope in the next generation, we must look at our own and ask if we’re doing enough to create the world we want to live in. Social media means we all now have a platform, and it’s important we use this to spread a message of hope for a better future, particularly in these unprecedented times.

For this to achieve anything, all voices need to be heard and changes need to be made to create an even platform for the future. In 2014 we had a chance to make Scotland a better place. We didn’t. We achieved so much, but ultimately failed.

Carla says: “The views of society and public opinion are so different between Scotland and the rest of the UK. What’s keeping us together?”

We missed the opportunity for discussions about the country we want to be and what has been sacrificed to get a position of choice.

She added: “I was on a residency in Canada and I tried to explain the situation in Scotland to someone. The way I see it is that there’s no point having a political voice in Scotland, cause our vote doesn’t count for shit. Either there is some drastic reform, which isn’t going to happen, or we get independence. Women died and suffered for my right to vote. Now we don’t even have democracy.”

In Carla’s song Dreamers On The Run, she sings “We know we’ll never make it/cause the way that we’re feeling is caught up in dreaming/we burned every bridge that we made.”

Maybe now is the time to stop dreaming, build bridges, have conversations and do something to make a better country.