Advancing gender equality

New co-chairs appointed to help fulfil Scottish Government ambitions.

Two equality experts specialising in women’s representation and participation, and labour market equality will take forward the next phase of work to realise gender equality in Scotland.

Talat Yaqoob, Co-Founder of Women 5050, the national campaign for fair representation of women in politics and public life and Anna Ritchie Allan, Executive Director of Close the Gap have been appointed to co-chair the next phase of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council for Women and Girls (NACWG).

The First Minister thanked outgoing co-chairs Louise Macdonald OBE and Dr Ima Jackson for their leadership of the NACWG as she welcomed the two new co-chairs into post.

The Advisory Council was established in 2017 to champion gender equality and suggest where more action is needed to tackle persistent inequality, support women in work, end violence against women and girls and challenge gender stereotypes.

During phase one the NACWG published three annual reports setting out bold recommendations in areas from justice, to education, women’s political representation and human rights.

From March 2022, the Advisory Council will move to a scrutiny role to help ensure the Scottish Government and others fulfil the ambition of its recommendations to make Scotland a fairer, safer and more equal country for all women and girls.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I want to thank Louise Macdonald, Dr Ima Jackson and all of the members from the first phase of the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls. Their work and dedication to the goal of gender equality has firmly established a NACWG which is doing exactly what I hoped it would - challenging the Scottish Government and others to do more to tackle inequality and make Scotland a more equal place for women and girls.

“We are delivering its recommendations across government and earlier this month, on International Women’s Day, I welcomed publication of the independent report on Misogyny and Criminal Justice in Scotland which exists as a result of a recommendation by the Advisory Council in 2018. Later in this parliamentary session we will introduce a new Human Rights Bill which will incorporate the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other human rights treaties into Scots law, as far as possible within devolved competence.

“I look forward to working with Talat and Anna on the challenges they set for us in phase two to build on the dynamic recommendations made by the Advisory Council in phase one and to further our work to tackle gender inequality in every aspect of life, in every corner of Scotland.”

Talat Yaqoob said:

“Having been part of the Advisory Council since its inception, I know that the recommendations made were done so with the genuine intention to improve the lives of women and girls in Scotland. With the content of all three annual reports accepted and supported, it’s now time to ensure these changes are put into action to make this intention into a reality. Without this, they are just hopeful words on paper.

“Over Phase Two, we’ll be focusing on two things, accountability and participation. We will be challenging Government and beyond to deliver these recommendations effectively and pushing for the needs of marginalised women to be at the centre of design and implementation.”

Anna Ritchie Allan added:

“The NACWG recommendations are bold and wide-ranging, and accountability is necessary to drive systemic change. The work comes at a critical time, as Covid-19 has magnified women’s and girls’ inequality. The accountability phase creates an opportunity to do things differently, to ensure that the Scottish Government delivers on its commitments around gender equality. Our recommendations are a starting point for change, but effective implementation is needed if change is to be meaningful for marginalised women and girls.”

Louise Macdonald OBE commented:

“When the NACWG was established, we made a bold pledge to help design a future where gender inequality is a historical curiosity and I have immense pride in the package of recommendations we put forward – which were all accepted. I firmly believe that taken as a set, they have the power to transform our systems so they are truly fit for the future and drive forward gender equality in Scotland for women and girls, but only if they are implemented fully and remain true to the spirit they were proposed.

“I wish our new co-Chairs every success as they take the Advisory Council forward in its scrutiny and accountability role, which is vital to eliminating the shameful inequalities women and girls still face every day.”

Dr Ima Jackson added:

“This is an exciting time for the NACWG as the work to develop a new vision for the future of Scotland takes shape. I hope to see these systematic changes take effect to help build communities up, where women and girls can thrive and achieve their full potential.”


The National Advisory Council on Women and Girls was appointed by the First Minister in December 2017 to advise on what additional actions could be taken by the Scottish Government and others to realise gender equality in Scotland.

The first full meeting of the reconstituted NACWG is on 31 March 2022.

First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (


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