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Scottish parties: get women into Holyrood

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Scottish Parliament, elections, 2021, selecting candidates, Women 50:50, email, SNP, Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour, getting women into seatsParties do have the option to take action right now and ensure more women get in to Holyrood.

Internal political party discussions are heating up as selections take place for Scottish Parliament candidates.

In the 2016 election, the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Greens either met the 50 per cent women candidates target or came very close.

Candidates are currently being selected for the 2021 election, and Women 50:50 has decided to remind all the major parties that now is the time to take real action to select women as candidates.

There are many efforts parties can make, and while Women 50:50 would all prefer for there to be legislated candidate quotas to ensure that all the parties take action, we do not need to wait for that to happen to see change.

Parties can, right now, take voluntary and progressive action to make fair representation a reality on the ballot paper.

Women 50:50, who campaign for at least 50 per cent of the MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, councils and public boards to be women, have emailed all the main parties to ask them what action they are taking – if any.

They hope to be able to post responses at the end of July – and that there will be positive news from all of Scotland’s main political parties.

This is the email they sent:

FAO: Party Chairs, Chief Executives or Senior staff

‘We are the national campaign for women’s fair representation across Scotland’s national and local politics. We are delighted to have the support of four out of five of the major parties in Scotland and a majority of the current MSPs, but we also know that alongside supportive words on women’s political equality we need action. As parties select their candidates for 2021, now is the time for that action to be taken.

‘Whilst we are campaigning for legislated candidate quotas in Scotland, parties do have the option to pursue interventions right now, such as all women shortlists and specific outreach activities targeting under-represented groups to be candidates in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

‘We are gathering information to find out what interventions parties are committing to, to increase the number of women candidates, in particular women from BME backgrounds, disabled women and working class women. We would appreciate it, if you could respond to this email, telling us what actions your party is taking? Please note, we will be publishing all responses on our website.

‘We look forward to hearing from you.’

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