First minister gives her full support to Women 5050’s campaign for quotas.

Women 5050 is delighted to have the full support of the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for their campaign for 50% quotas on public boards, in councils and in the Scottish parliament by 2020.

In a letter to Women 5050, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote:

“I truly believe there should be no limit to ambition on what anyone can achieve. If you are good enough and if you work hard enough, the sky is the limit. I am happy to work with all organisations and individuals who share this aspiration and I am therefore pleased to give my support to the Women 5050 campaign.”

The campaign has already gained cross party support from MSPs and has had cross party backing from the very start with Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour Party MSP, Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP and Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green Party MSP on the steering group.

Talat Yaqoob, Chair of Women 5050 said; “To have the support of the First Minister’s shows that the issue of gender equality is being taken seriously and that the need for fair representation is being recognised. Currently only 36% of women are MSPs and a shocking 24% of Councillors are women. The number of women MSPs has decreased in every election of the Scottish Parliament and at the currently rate it would take another 80 years for us to reach 50/50. Women should not be waiting for equality, they deserve it now and quotas are the fair way to make that happen. The campaign is looking forward to working with Nicola Sturgeon to make this a reality”.

Lily Greenan, Women 5050 steering group member and CEO of Scottish Women’s Aid said; “Women suffer inequalities in the home, in the workplace, in the boardroom and even in our parliament. It’s time this changed and I am pleased to see that the First Minister agrees with the Women 5050 campaign. We need a culture change and an attitudinal change in how women are viewed at every level of our society, having more women leading Scotland is a way to set that change in motion. It is long overdue that our parliament and our council chambers reflect the society they are meant to represent”.

Kate Higgins, Women 5050 steering group member and Women for Independence steering group member said; “Not one party has 50% women candidates for the general election, illustrating the need for positive action to be taken by them all to achieve gender equality in our politicians. I’m delighted that Nicola Sturgeon has signed up to the campaign. She has made this a personal political mission and wants to smash the glass ceiling in all areas of public life. We have the chance to change how Scotland does politics and show that we are serious about gender equality; we must take it.”

Eileen Dinning, Women 5050 steering group member and STUC Women’s Committee, said:

“This is an important and welcome endorsement for our campaign. Trade union women in Scotland began the campaign for gender quality in public life in the early 1990’s and it’s clear we still have a long way to go. The backing of a senior women politician who has the authority to help bring about change through public appointments and other measures is a very positive move.”


Notes to Editor:

  1.       Details of the campaign can be found here;
  2.      For more information contact 07795575446 or
  3.     The full letter from the First Minister is available on request