Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to 'courageous' Eilidh Barbour over 'sexist' Scottish Football Writers' Association awards night speech

Nicola Sturgeon has paid tribute to sports presenter Eilidh Barbour for calling out sexism at the recent Scottish Football Writers’ Association (SFWA) awards night.

The SFWA was forced to apologise after Ms Barbour and other journalists criticised the awards night for making them feel “unwelcome” due to the contents of an after-dinner speech.

The presenter, who hosts Scottish football on Sky Sports and various sports on the BBC, tweeted: “Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers’ Awards. A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place.”

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Times journalist Gabriella Bennett, who is also co-chair of Women in Journalism, walked out of the event during the speech and said she was sickened by the remarks ‘masquerading as banter’.

She said: “Last night’s speech was really next level. I walked out after about five minutes of maybe a 20-minute speech, and within those five minutes that was rammed with sexist jokes, I saw Eilidh Barbour and her table stand up to leave.”

During First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon praised the women for calling out the sexism.

She said: “From what I’ve read of what occurred at that particular awards dinner, it was unacceptable.

The SFWA apologised after an after-dinner speaker made offensive jokes that led to guests including sports broadcaster Eilidh Barbour walking out.

"It’s not easy, ever, for any woman, in particular in a traditionally man’s world, to speak out in that way and Eilidh and her colleagues deserve credit for doing so.

"Sexism and misogyny still runs far too deep in our society and it is a reminder that it starts with male behaviour and it is male behaviour that we must see changed.”

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