Nicola Sturgeon is our first female leader and Scotland’s first female First Minister. We are proud that the SNP government’s cabinet is one of only a handful in the world that is gender balanced but we are equally determined to improve the representation of women across Scottish politics.
As a party, we have held several successful Women’s Conferences, bringing female members together to share ideas, support each other and learn from best practice across the country. To complement our national Women and Equalities convenor, we have Equalities Officers and Women’s Officers at a branch level. We also offer a mentoring scheme for candidates, women only candidate vetting and assessment as well as women only training through our women’s academy.
In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election we had more female candidates than ever before and 43 per cent of SNP MSPs are now women, up from 27.5 per cent in 2011. More than one third of our MPs are now women too.
In the 2017 local council elections, we put in place new rules to ensure more women were put forward as candidates. As a result, the share of female SNP candidates for council was up 17.5 per cent to 41.3 per cent – the highest increase of any party. After the Greens, the SNP now has the highest share of women councillors of any major party.
We’re taking action in government too. A new £500,000 fund has been established to support projects that encourage greater representation of women in politics and to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.
To increase the number of women in leadership roles across the wider public sector, we have passed the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill. The new law – the first of its kind in the UK – will ensure that 50 per cent of non-executive members on public boards in Scotland are women.
We are also ensuring that the voices of women and girls are heard at the highest levels of politics. The First Minister has established an Advisory Council on Women and Girls to inform the Scottish Government on the inequalities they face and how best to tackle it.