Advisory Council on Women and Girls

Group established to further gender equality.

A new group has been created to advise the Scottish Government on the action needed to tackle gender inequality.

The Advisory Council on Women and Girls will be chaired by Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive of Young Scot. There are members from the third sector, government and business – including three aged under 20 years old.

The remit of the Advisory Council is to:

  • Bring attention to inequality, as experienced by women and girls in Scotland today
  • Champion policies that make a meaningful difference, encouraging Scotland to become a beacon for gender equality
  • Be a catalyst for change, providing a challenging voice if progress is slow or ineffective

Announcing the new group, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Taking steps to secure gender equality is, of course, a moral obligation of government as well as the right thing to do. Inequality stops women from achieving their full potential, holds us back as a nation and damages the economy.

“That is why we need more action and I have established this new group to offer a strong and challenging voice, helping us continue to achieve progress on the representation of women and girls.

“My thanks go to Louise and all of the members of the Advisory Council. I look forward to their findings and advice, which I am sure will be instrumental in informing action and policy development across Scotland.”

Advisory Council Chair Louise Macdonald said:

“Our ambition is big – quite rightly – and we want to create something different. Something which leads to the entire population of Scotland being alive to the issues and feeling empowered to do something about it. 

“To do this we need to spark a movement which inspires social change in the culture and conversation around gender equality in Scotland. The most important thing that the Council can do is to listen – to those with experience, expertise and ideas. We look forward to beginning this work.”


A Programme for Government commitment, membership of the Advisory Council on Women and Girls includes:

  • Louise Macdonald OBE – Chair
  • Amina Ahmed – Scottish Government Fairer Future Codesign Panel (age 15)
  • Kara Brown – Director, World YWCA
  • Tressa Burke – CEO, Glasgow Disability Alliance
  • Dr Catherine Calderwood – Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer
  • Vicky Featherstone – Director, Royal Court Theatre
  • Jacqui Ferguson – Non-Executive Director, WoodGroup
  • Professor Dame Anne Glover - President-elect, Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Katie Horsburgh – Young Advocate, Girlguiding Scotland (age 17)
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws – QC
  • Satwat Rehman – CEO, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Emma Ritch – Executive Director, Engender Scotland
  • Suki Wan – Vice Chair, Scottish Youth Parliament (age 19)
  • Talat Yaqoob – Director, Equate Scotland and Co-Founder, Women 50/50

The Advisory Council is responsible for setting its own agenda and business and will consider the need to request the collection or commissioning of new analysis. It is supported by a secretariat function provided by the Scottish Government.

Evidence and insight will be gathered and discussions recorded, from all over Scotland, leading to recommendations for action, which will be shared with the First Minister and her Cabinet and made public.

The first term of the Advisory Council will be three years, after which it will be reviewed. It will formally meet three times per year with engagement ongoing throughout the year to help the Council shape its understanding of the issues facing women and girls.

All members have been asked to serve for a minimum three-year period. The first meeting will take place on 6 December 2017.


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