Changing the system

Scotland to consider radical proposals to become world leader in gender equality

First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

Scotland’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls has released their first annual report, unveiling a number of daring proposals that the council’s independent chairwoman said could make Scotland “a leading nation in the pursuit of gender equality.”

On Friday, the council issued a report recommending a revolutionary new process for handling sexual violence claims, offering families paid paternity leave, and providing 50 hours of free childcare a week for children under five years old. Further suggestions included the creation of an institute to test approaches on changing public attitudes on gender equality, a commission to determine how to embed gender equality within the education system, research on how media impacts people’s perspective on gender, and the criminalization of sexual harassment and catcalling.

“We know from the growth of global movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp that there is a real appetite for radical change for equality for women and girls,” said Louis Macdonald, the council’s chairwoman and chief executive of national youth charity Young Scot. The goal, she added, was to bring “a revolutionary lens” to the goal of realizing gender equality in both the public and private spheres.

“Changing the system,” she explained, “would lead to changing behaviors and that leads to changes in attitudes and culture.”

The 16-member council, established in 2017 by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, crafted their recommendations after speaking with women’s rights experts and activists across Scotland. Sturgeon is expected to issue a reaction to the report on Wednesday.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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