The venue was changed three times, as more women signed up to come and each space was revealed to be not big enough.

In the end, yesterday, 1000 women converged on a church hall in Perth for the first Women for Independence conference.

Before the referendum there had been no such national gathering because women were too busy campaigning and trying to get a Yes vote in their own area. Now they finally were coming together for a day of talk not just about independence for Scotland, but also independence for women; a session of empowerment speeches, laughter, tears and seizings of the mic. Opening the meeting, Kate Higgins declared: "You are a sight for sore eyes."

Among the speakers were founders Carolyn Leckie and Jeane Freeman, as well as actor Elaine C Smith. Leckie said she was moved by the "energy, hope and optimism" that was in the room. "Women are recognising that they have power. The question is what are we going to do with that power?" Though the group's "ultimate goal" will remain independence, she explained, they are focusing on the second part of their title "Women for Independence and independence for women". Leckie talked of the desire to build bridges with those in the women's movement who voted No, "if they want to be included".

Freeman, in her keynote speech, spoke of the group's determination "that women's voices should be heard". She talked of "feminist energy" and quoted Gloria Steinem who said that any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being "will need her sisterhood".

She declared: "Each thing we do has to reach out to other women: to those we didn't take with us this time but who we can take with us when our chance comes again."

Out of the Yes campaign has come a new expression of feminism, a new women's movement. Whole new Women For Independence groups have formed, and hundreds of women have joined.

Since it is a grass-roots movement, there is going to be no top-down decision-making. Each woman was given a sheet of paper to write what she wanted. Roving mics darted across the floor between women who showed no restraint in voicing their thoughts. "This is the most politicised generation in Scotland for a long time, arguably now one of the most politicised nations in the world, and you can't put that back in a bottle," said Leckie.

More meetings will follow, with one scheduled for Glasgow in November.