LYUDMILA Navalnaya, whose son was imprisoned and murdered by Putin’s authoritarian regime, knows something about resistance. Using the powerful tropes of motherhood in successfully claiming the body of her son, she arranged a funeral which was attended by thousands of brave Russians in defiance of the regime.

Meanwhile, here a chorus of voices encouraged us to be fearful when confronted by threats. “It’s time to be very afraid, be very, very afraid” commented Richard Walker in The National recently about Westminster’s plans to police public order (When politicians come after our right to protest it’s time to be very afraid, Mar 1). In tandem with this way of thinking I often read on social media exhortations to “grow a pair” or “grow cojones”, even a backbone, as though brute strength will effectively challenge injustice.

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Women’s campaigning for social justice – in our case for self-determination – has taken a different shape. In 1955 Rosa Parks lit the flame of a civil rights movement in refusing to give up her seat for a white bus passenger in racially segregated Alabama

USA. Like Navalnaya, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo led years of resistance from 1992 to military dictatorship in Argentina. At Greenham Common in the 1980s women camped until the American missiles were removed. In other less spectacular instances, acts of defiance against the dictates of patriarchy, challenging the imposition of stereotypical social roles, have inspired revolutions in how we behave. Women’s support groups during the miners’ strike of the 1980s sadly continue through our role in running food banks. Reasoning and discussion, taking advantage of opportunities in our everyday lives can support others in challenging repressive ideas and behaviour.

International Women’s Day has always been about solidarity, from its beginnings in the 1840s in protest at women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention in the USA. However, the principle of “if you stop us resisting in one way we will spring up again in a different form” is deep rooted in women’s politics. Resistance isn’t about “growing a pair” or having brute strength but is about having the will and guile to confront injustice by asserting our dissent through empathy.

Cathie Lloyd

I WAS born in Cromarty in 1949 and still live here. Growing up and going to the local school, my only Scottish history was that of the Scots, Celts, Brits, Druids etc.

The local library used to be used for voting in elections. On one such occasion I heard some locals shouting “home rule, home rule”; when I asked my Dad what that meant he explained that some people in Scotland wanted to have their own government separate from the rest of the UK. I reckoned that that was a great idea, but had no idea how that could be achieved. In the following years, I read many books on Scottish history and realised that life in Scotland could be completely different if we Scots had our own powers. Nothing changed to alter my opinions and at every opportunity I used my vote to attempt to elect someone from the SNP.

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When Winnie Ewing won her seat, I was ecstatic and full of hope for the future.

When Donald Dewar became First Minister of Scotland, I truly expected the devolutionary step to develop into a giant leap sooner than later.

Over the years I watched the SNP grow in stature as well as membership, so much so that I actually believed that I would see independence in my lifetime.

But life can be nasty. Maggie Thatcher destroyed our industry; income from oil was completely squandered, nothing invested for the future. So, Labour got us our devolution but now seem intent on destroying same, such a disappointment. As for the Tories, words can’t express my utter contempt for all they stand for. What has happened to the LibDems? Charlie Kennedy didn’t represent the party I wanted, but he was the closest to being a decent politician; he actually listened to his electorate and helped them.

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The SNP’s fortunes have wavered over the years, some due to their incompetence but mostly as a result of the nasty biased media. I cannot, and never will, understand just how we Scots can sit back and allow our resources to disappear AGAIN; renewable resources are our future, but we sit back and let all the power go into the National Grid where we have to buy it back at an inflated rate!

I, apparently, am in the generation that didn’t vote for independence in the referendum – if that is the case, then I apologise for those who can’t see past the end of their noses. Surely our children and grandchildren deserve a better life than this?! Poverty ought to have disappeared with Charles Dickens’s reports on life in the 1800s, but it is rife and growing; this is shameful in this day and age.

I will continue to look through my rose-tinted glasses and hope Scotland will one day wake up and smell the coffee.

Rosemarie Hogg