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DREW HENDRY: I am constantly inspired by the women I meet

By Drew Hendry

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Laura Johnston-Scott.
Laura Johnston-Scott.

This Friday marks International Women’s Day, an annual day to celebrate, empower and recognise the achievements of women whilst also recognising how much work there is still to do to achieve gender equality.

This year’s theme, ‘Inspire inclusion’, feels particularly fitting, as I am constantly inspired by the women I meet across the constituency who are taking action to make our community a more inclusive space.

One such woman who is leading the way on fostering inclusion is Laura Johnston-Scott, founder of the Highland Well-Ness Collective. The Highland Well-Ness Collective is a social enterprise with a focus on improving mental health and wellbeing through therapeutic and creative activities paired with professional counselling services. Laura’s care and passion for helping others is evident throughout all that she does.

The inspiring work of women in the Highlands continues with Ashley Hope, co-founder of the Dopamine Dolls, an organisation founded to help women and non-binary people living with ADHD. It may seem so obvious that those living in ADHD might find comfort in others with shared experiences; but taking the action to make this support a reality takes leadership and courage; which Ashley has in spades.

We cannot hope to achieve gender equality if we aren’t addressing menopause: something which Menopause Coach, Maria Anderson, and doctors Beth Macfarlane and Emma Rushworth of Menopause Health Highland are leading the way on. Maria’s work with MikeysLine to tackle the stigma around menopause and Beth & Emma’s work in providing personalised menopause care are going some way in increasing awareness of the symptoms of menopause and the impact it can have whilst also ensuring that no woman is left to struggle through alone, without help.

I am incredibly fortunate in this role to get to meet with women such as Laura, Ashley, Maria, Beth and Emma, who, each in their own ways, are taking action to inspire a more inclusive community, finding innovative ways to solve problems, dedicating their careers to helping others and all the while supporting the women in their own lives to achieve and succeed.

International Women’s Day might mark one single day in the calendar year, but there is no doubt in my mind that these women, and so many others like them, should be celebrated year-round.

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