Scottish Parliament campaign launched to get more women to becomes MSPs

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A major Holyrood drive has been unveiled aimed at getting more women to become MSPs after numbers stalled in recent years.

More than 400 women from across Scotland are to be invited to a day at the Scottish Parliament aimed at generating interest and tackling the gender imbalance in Scottish and UK politics.

The main chamber of the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The main chamber of the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Just 45 women (34.9 per cent) out of 129 MSPs were elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016. This is the same proportion as the previous election in 2014 and down from a high of 39.5 per cent in the 2003 elections.

The situation is worse at Westminster where just 28.8 per cent of Scots MPs are female.

Now Scotland’s Women Stand has been organised to “inspire, empower and encourage” women to run for political office in the UK.

The event will see Holyrood open up its Debating Chamber on 7 September to more than 400 women for a day of “action and inspiration”. The event is part of the Parliament’s 20th anniversary programme.

Holyrood deputy presiding officer Linda Fabiani said: “This event is for women up and down the country that have never thought about standing for political office, didn’t think it was for them and didn’t know that they had the power to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Scotland.”

Lee Chalmers, director of The Parliament Project, said the event aimed to be a “catalyst” for women to get involved in politics.

“More women as elected representatives is a change we need to support and this event is a powerful moment in recognising that need,” she said.

Patrycja Kupiec, director of YWCA Scotland, said: “Our organisation has been advocating for voices of girls and women in Scotland to be heard, celebrated and respected for over 150 years, and we want to see equal representation in politics in ten years, not another 100 years.”