Women Standing for Elected Office

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

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The First Minister:

Yes. I am glad to hear the support from across the chamber for Angela Rayner. I certainly stand in solidarity with her and condemn unreservedly the comments that were reported on Sunday. Like everybody else—or most other people—I was absolutely appalled both by the male Conservative MP who thought that it was okay to make those pathetic and derogatory comments and by the fact that we still live in a society in which it is deemed acceptable for such a story to be published in a major newspaper. A lot of reflection is needed on both of those points.

Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with—in my case—the

Daily Mail’s tactics of attempting to reduce women politicians to their legs. To the best of my knowledge, such tactics are never used to dismiss and degrade male politicians in the way that that happens to female politicians.

Sadly and depressingly, the story highlighted what women already know and what many women already experience daily, which is deep-seated sexism and misogyny in society. That needs to be addressed.

We will continue to take the actions that I set out in my earlier answer, but I am also pleased that in our response to the work of Baroness Kennedy’s misogyny and criminal justice in Scotland working group, we committed to consult on draft legislation in advance of introducing a bill to specifically tackle misogyny.

This is something for all of us—but for men, in particular—to reflect on. We will rue the day that we make it more difficult and less attractive for women to come forward for election to public office. It is time to draw a line in the sand, and it is time for men—not all men are misogynists, but misogyny comes from men—to change.