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Are we a step closer?

Two exciting things happened with the campaign this week!

1. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, stated she support the campaign during a live Q&A on Facebook;

Time for some champagne?

2. The Smith Commission announcement of further devolved power,  included the devolution of elections.

So we will have the powers to implement quotas and a First Minister who is happy to support the campaign. By 2020 we could have a very different (equal) looking parliament.

Thank you to all of the amazing supporters and the over 600 public pledges we have had! LET’S KEEP GOING!


PRESS RELEASE: Today’s legislative programme gender pledge



Women 5050 welcome the 5050 by 2020 pledge, but change starts from within.

The First Minister’s pledge today of a 50/50 gender equality split by 2020 on public, private and third sector boards, has been warmly welcomed by women 5050, the campaign for 50% representation of women in councils, in Scottish Parliament and on public boards. But emphasise, that encouragement of the pledge will only be taken seriously if the parliament pushing it reflects the same ideals and encouraged Nicola Sturgeon to sign up to the campaign.

Talat Yaqoob, feminist activist and steering group member for Women 5050 said:

“it’s clear that the First Minister takes women’s representation seriously, the pledge is of course, an illustration of that, however there is a difference in a pledge and taking direct action. The Women 5050 campaign is seeking change across Scotland’s public life, that must include the Scottish Government and our council chambers, let’s lead by example. Seeing the First Minister support women 5050 would be a sure sign of the commitment to gender equality”.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green Party MSP said:

“We should applaud the First Minister on setting this challenge to the private, public and third sector boards in Scotland. We should now set the same challenge to national and local government representation.”

“In creating a fair gender split, we have to practice what we preach and set ourselves the same challenge at all levels of representation. This is a first step and the next is signing up to the Women 5050 campaign.”


Press Release: A 50/50 cabinet is a great first step



Women 5050 welcomes the 50/50 cabinet, but it’s only the first step

Women 5050, the cross party campaign group pushing for 50% quotas for women in parliament, councils and public boards, welcomes Nicola Sturgeon’s gender equal cabinet, who today are meeting for the first time. The campaign group stated that the new First Minister has illustrated that progress on gender equality can be achieved with political will.

However, the campaign urges Nicola Sturgeon to follow fellow MSPs and publically sign up to the campaign pledge for quotas in the Scottish Parliament, councils and public boards by 2020.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP and who co-launched the campaign said:

The First Minister has taken some very positive steps in appointing her Ministers, but the real prize will be a Parliament that looks like the people it represents. Nicola Sturgeon should make it clear that if her Government gets new powers over equality or elections, they will be used to bring gender balance to the Scottish Parliament.”

Fiona Mckay, Professor at the University of Edinburgh and steering group member of Women 5050 said:

“When it comes to promoting women’s equal representation in Scottish politics, the time has come for political leaders to support strong quotas enshrined in electoral law. More than half of all countries of the world now have some sort of quota in place and research shows that quotas are the ‘fast track to equality’. But voluntary party quotas rely on individual parties and have not gone far enough. It is time for Scotland to follow the example of other European countries, including France and Spain, who have already gone down the path of legally mandated quotas which require all parties to take action.”

Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland women’s officer said:

Women 50-50 is doing a fantastic job of bringing together those from all parties, and none, to say that no more will women go without their rightful place at every level of Scottish public life. It’s a campaign that NUS Scotland is proud to play a part in, and one we want to see all parties and the Scottish Government get involved with. We need to stand together to push for the powers and the purpose to make Scotland fairer for all of us. The First Minister has done a huge amount already to secure the fair representation of women within the Scottish Government, but we need to see that extended to all women in Scotland.


Angela Constance latest MSP to back Women 5050

Angela Constance of the SNP, is the latest MSP to back the call for 50% representation of women, below is her press statement and you can join her by signing up to support us here

Angela Constance backs women to succeed.

Angela Constance has signed up for the Women 50:50 Campaign.

“Barriers to women in politics should be consigned to the wheelie bin of outdated attitudes”

“For the first time ever in the long, somewhat interrupted, history of the Scottish Parliament, we are on the verge of seeing a woman elected to the position of First Minister. Not only that, but each of the three main parties in our parliament will be led by women. That is a first, not just for Scotland, but for the United Kingdom.

Nevertheless, women are still widely under-represented in the institutions and organisations to which we entrust the running of our society. They are under-represented in the boardrooms of business and in the leadership of trades unions. This is not a peculiarly Scottish phenomenon – it is recognised throughout Europe as something that should be remedied.

It should be remedied, not simply because it is desirable from an equality perspective, but because a failure to deploy the talents and perceptions of as many women as possible represents a potential weakness in our drive to create a fairer, happier, more prosperous society. To give a practical example – a study of US ‘Fortune 500’ companies [1] found that those with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors,

It is foolish not to seek the added performance that women can bring as widely as possible throughout society.

This is why I am giving my support to the Women 50:50 campaign. The 50:50 campaign is an EU-wide drive to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men.  The recent elections to the European Parliament saw only a 1.5% increase in the number of MEPs [2] – at that rate it will take half a century for women and men to be equally represented.

Scotland, with 35% women MSPs is doing better than Westminster (23%) [3]. But there is still a deficit to make up. And that parliamentary deficit is reflected in our wider society.

In recent weeks, the SNP has attracted tens of thousands of new members, half of them women. We must ensure their voice is heard, equally with men. I have already made crystal clear my commitment to equality of membership and the fullest possible participation of members in policy decisions.

But I am not blind to the barriers that continue to exist for women in politics. If elected depute leader, I shall strive to overthrow those barriers so that inside the SNP, at least, they are consigned to the wheelie bin of outdated attitudes, where I believe they belong.”



Political parties make first response to Smith Commission

Today all Scottish political parties published their first response to the Smith Commission on further devolved powers to Scotland

We welcome the references to creating fair representation for women in some of the responses. However we would like to see a stronger commitment as the process continues. Women 5050 will be submitting its own response which will call specifically for the devolution of electoral laws to allow for the legislation and delivery of legal quotas in the Scottish Parliament.

You can read the political party responses below:

Scottish National Party

Scottish Labour Party

Scottish Green Party

Scottish Conservatives

Scottish Liberal Democrats

You can also submit your own response to the Smith Commission. The use of parliamentary quotas and temporary special measures in the Scottish Parliament is currently reserved to Westminster, under the provision on political parties in the Scotland Act 1998. We would welcome our supporters sending in a response to devolve the ability to create quotas for a fairer parliament.

You can send submission to 

If you do submit a response, can you please send us a copy, to

Thank you