Women Standing for Elected Office

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 28th April 2022.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

It is important to record the good news that the Parliament now has a record number of women MSPs, although the proportion who are women is not yet at 50 per cent. We should aspire to all our Parliaments having representation at national and local levels that properly represents the society that we live in.

There is no doubt that women in society, including those in public life, continue to face unacceptable levels of sexist and misogynistic behaviour. That can—and does, I believe—put many women off standing for elected office. It harms democracy; it harms all of us; and it is completely unacceptable. Those things need to change. To change them, we need men to end their sexist and misogynistic behaviour and to be much more aware of their actions and words and of the impact of them.

The Scottish Government funds projects to support and equip women to stand for elected office. That includes Engender’s equal representation project to help political parties to increase their diversity, and the young women lead programme and Elect Her, which empower women to stand for elected office.