Foreword - First Minister
First Minister of Scotland
I appointed the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) in 2017 to be a champion for gender equality, to amplify where positive progress and policies are making a difference to the lives of women and girls and to be a challenging voice where greater progress is needed.
I asked the NACWG to be bold and to think differently about how we can make Scotland a more equal country for future generations of women and girls.
Undoubtedly, this is reflected in the ambition of its recommendations, which have required considerable dialogue across government, in areas from women’s political representation to access to justice, education and childcare. I committed to give the NACWG’s recommendations, the Scottish Government’s full and careful consideration.
I started with the presumption that the Scottish Government would take forward the recommendations. And if for any reason we couldn’t, we should propose an alternative course of action which would achieve the NACWG’s ambitions. Similarly, as some of these recommendations are long term ambitions, I have been clear that we should set out the positive intermediate steps that can be taken in the short to medium term.
I am proud of the priority that the Scottish Government continues to give to realising gender equality and of the work that we are progressing across all portfolios, from tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, to challenging gender stereotypes in education and the workplace, to taking steps to ensure that women are properly represented in decision making spaces. There is a lot for us to be proud of and a very strong base on which we can build. I am sure that the actions I have set out in this response to the Council’s recommendations will move us closer to achieving the systemic change we all want to see.