The SNP has a proud record of fighting for gender equality while in government. From action on equal pay, support for women returning to the workplace, the first gender-balanced Cabinet in the UK and taking action to end period poverty we’ve worked hard to tear down barriers.
We will introduce an overarching Scottish Diversity and Inclusion Strategy covering the public sector, our educational institutions, justice system, and workplaces. This strategy will focus on the removal of institutional, cultural and financial barriers which lead to inequalities in relation to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and social mobility.
We will incorporate into Scots Law the UN Convention of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
We will develop and implement a Women’s Health Plan aiming to improve services and reduce health inequalities for women and girls. It will:
- establish a dignified, compassionate miscarriage service tailored to the needs of women, taking forward the findings of the lancet report and supporting the development of individualised care plans after a woman’s first miscarriage
- emulate New Zealand where families who experience miscarriage or stillbirth are entitled to 3 days of paid leave by delivering this within the public sector and call on the UK Government to make the necessary changes to employment law to make it available for everyone,
- review midwifery and health visiting pathways for new families and babies, look at improving access to practical breastfeeding support, physical therapy advice and increasing postpartum and mental wellbeing support,
- ensure maternity departments have dedicated facilities for women who are experiencing unexpected pregnancy complications,
- reduce waiting times for diagnosing endometriosis from over 8 years to less than 12 months by the end of the parliament and look to improve the experience and diagnosis of women who visit their GPs with other menstrual problems,
- ensure women have improved access to specialist services for advice and support on the diagnosis and management of menopause. We will launch a public health campaign to remove stigma and raise awareness of the symptoms of the menopause.
We will create a dedicated Women’s Business Centre to provide financial support, advice and training to women looking to start or grow their business, backed by £50 million. As part of this, we will invest £3 million per year to pay the equivalent of a full time salary for 100 female applicants to develop their pioneering business idea.
To tackle the motherhood penalty, we will halt the interest on student loans during maternity leave and continue funding for our Women Returners Programme to help women back into work.
In government, the SNP introduced Equally Safe, our strategy to combat all forms of violence against women and girls. We will establish a new multi-year £100 million funding stream over the next three years to back that plan, support frontline services and focus on prevention of violence against women and girls.
To help women and girls be safe on the streets we will work with stakeholders on how to better educate men about the impact of their behaviour. We will explore ways to improve the design of communities, such as Space Safety Audits, to make women not just feel safer, but be safer.
We will listen carefully to the Working Group on Misogyny and Criminal Justice – including creating a standalone offence if it is recommended and we will enshrine the right to lifelong anonymity for complainers of sexual crimes in Scots law.