First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has voiced support for “system-wide approaches” to tackle the problem of the under-representation of women in politics and wider society, as her party prepares to debate the issue of women-only shortlists.
Plans to return more female MSPs by creating a number of all-women shortlists for the selection of candidates in the 2016 Holyrood elections will be discussed at the SNP’s spring conference in Glasgow next weekend.
The leadership’s proposals are expected to face attempts by some activists to block the move.
Ms Sturgeon said she believes “100 per cent” that people should be selected for posts on merit, but that measures should be looked at to address the factors in society which are “holding women back”.
The First Minister was asked if all-women shortlists are the best way to go. She said: “I do think we have to look at the systems we’ve got in place, not just in politics but across society.
“People say to me, ‘I don’t want quotas, I don’t want all-women shortlists because I believe people should get on on merit’. I absolutely 100 per cent believe in that, I think people should get on on merit. The problem is that’s not what happens very often just now.”