Young Women Move

Young Women Move

By Nadine Aisha Jassat

Specially commissioned for the 2024 centenary of The Young Women’s Movement in Scotland.

Young Women Move

This recording is from The Young Women’s Movement 100th birthday event, at Edinburgh City Chambers in April 2024. #YWM100

When I was a youngest young woman
my movements were free.
My movements were big
in my small toddler feet.
My movements were happy.
My movements were me.

But as I grew, the space around me
and my movements became
My movements became

But Young. Women. Move.

We move mountains and roads
and glass ceilings and goals.
We move borders and homes
and laws and doors.
We move our own cause.

And I was a young woman.
So I moved, too.

I moved my own voice
until I became loud.
I moved my own stories
and I made myself proud.
I moved my own brave
my own capacity for change.
And I wasn’t the only one.

I entered a centenary, self-defined
by the sound of thousands of feet
just like mine
dancing and storming
towards our own free decisions:
from those first steps taken in 1924,
to a hundred-years here,
and a hundred-years more.

Our movement once
had a Christian name,
and we were made up of people like
Miss Stella Jane
who created spaces for women
of all faiths,

We were made up of people like R,
who fought battles with the courage
of her own loving heart.
Faced the mazes of asylum,
new cities and PTSD,
and found the young women’s movement,
and said: move with me.

Or sisters like G,
who found help for herself
by helping other people out.

Or sisters like me,
who saw women move
and heard poetry.
Who listened to us rise together
as one.

Young women moved
and created community care
held in children’s games
and listening ears:
spaces to share joy and
counsel fears.
Young Women, we’re Leading
each other to where we want to be:
to friendship and job opportunities,
to our voices and local communities,
to feel confident to participate in society
to be the change we want to see.
It’s been a hundred years of this,
and more –
a hundred years of open doors,
a hundred years
of hospitality:
a hundred years of cups of tea.

And its been a hundred and four
pairs of shoes
of sisters who should be in this room
but aren’t.

It’s been the deep knowing
of the why in the Y.

Young Women Know the things
that move through us.
We know the tremor,
when wanting to reach for your voice.
We know the anger,
when others try to deny your choice.
We know the journey
to words which help us say:
‘I know I can make a difference.’
‘I know there’s power
in doing things my own way.’
‘I know I’m not alone.’

And of course we know too,
the ones who would move against us:
who would lasso their rope
against our defiant hope.
Who say, know your place,
stay inside your space.

The trouble is:
we do.

Our place is the world.
Our place is Empowering Pathways
for Women and girls
from parliaments and policy
to the pebbles across each Scottish beach:
the ones we skip out to the sea
the ones that make us archers of our dreams.
The trouble is you.
The trouble is me.
We are starlings soaring across the sky,
a murmuration made by you and I,
a murmuration that becomes we.
Our breath moving,
our minds free,
our movement for all
embracing every way you come to be
among us
you are one of us.
In charge of your own destiny,
reclaiming your own journey.
For a hundred years
gone before.
For a hundred years

Young. Women. Move.

And I move them.

Young. Women. Move.

 And we move