Scotland aims to become gender equality beacon

Nicola Sturgeon has signed off on radical plans aimed at creating greater gender equality.

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Scotland’s first minister has signed off on radical plans aimed at making the country a leader in gender equality, including 50 hours free good quality, flexible childcare for all children between six months and five years old and two ‘Daddy months’ of use-it-or-lose-it paid paternity leave.

The proposals were put forward in the first report of the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls which was established in 2017 by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The recommendations of the report were divided into several areas. On leadership, the report proposed the establishment of a ‘What Works?’ Institute to “develop and test robust, evidence-led inclusive and representative approaches to changing public attitudes in Scotland to girls and women’s equality and rights”.

It also called for quotas for local and national politicians and a thematic gender review of the new National Performance Framework to spark systemic change.


On accountability, the report called for the creation of a ‘Gender Beacon Collaborative’ – made up of the Scottish Government, a local Authority, a public body, a third sector agency and a business to take a holistic and systemic approach to gender equality and work.

Other recommendations included the creation of “a world-leading process for complainers of sexual violence” and “a consistent and inclusive model to ensure that women experiencing domestic abuse have sufficient access to expert legal advice and legal aid”.  The report also took aim at media representation of women and called for the creation of a resourced media body in Scotland to hold the media to account and provide guidance on gender equality.

Education was a key focus with calls for a Commission on Gender Equality in Education and Learning, covering Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education and Learning which would embed gender equality in all aspects of learning.

Championing gender equality

Nicola Sturgeon said: “I appointed the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls to champion gender equality, to be bold and to push government to do more.

“Their first report contained an ambitious set of recommendations and I thank all those involved for their hard work. I am committed to making sure we drive forward improvements to gender equality in Scotland now and in the future.

“By accepting the council’s recommendations we will learn from best practice in Scotland and around the world and work towards Scotland being a country where everyone is treated fairly and can achieve their full potential.”

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