First Minister announces Phase Two Co-Chairs


Advisory Council welcomes FM’s appointment announcement

New co-Chairs appointed to scrutinise Scottish Government’s rollout of gender equality recommendations

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Talat Yaqoob and Anna Ritchie Allan have been appointed as the new co-Chairs of The First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG).

The co-Chairs will now lead ‘Phase Two’ of the NACWG programme, providing essential oversight of the recommendations generated between 2018 – 2021.

The First Minister met with both incoming and outgoing co-Chairs late yesterday afternoon (Thursday 24 March) to discuss how the NACWG will now move into an accountability and scrutiny role for a further three years, focused on the Phase One recommendations, to push forward the implementation of the systemic changes required to tackle gender inequality in Scotland. This is ahead of a Phase Two launch Circle event next week, on 31 March.

Talat and Anna succeed co-Chairs Louise Macdonald OBE and Dr Ima Jackson, who led the NACWG through its first iteration, which provided a challenging voice to the First Minister and her team, producing three annual reports and a package of recommendations to tackle gender inequality.

In line with the vision set out by the NACWG in its next steps report, the announcement was welcomed by the preceding co-Chairs who remained in post to support the NACWG through this transition period. Louise Macdonald OBE commented: “When the NACWG was established, we made a bold pledge to help design a future where gender inequality is a historical curiosity and I have immense pride in the package of recommendations we put forward – which were all accepted. I firmly believe that taken as a set, they have the power to transform our systems so they are truly fit for the future and drive forward gender equality in Scotland for women and girls, but only if they are implemented fully and remain true to the spirit they were proposed.

“I wish our new co-Chairs every success as they take the Advisory Council forward in its scrutiny and accountability role, which is vital to eliminating the shameful inequalities women and girls still face every day.”

Dr Ima Jackson added: “This is an important time for the NACWG as the work we have done to develop a new vision for the future of Scotland takes shape. I hope to see these systemic changes take effect to help build communities up, where women and girls can thrive and achieve their full potential.”

Talat Yaqoob, an independent consultant currently working on research projects related to race and gender inequality, poverty, and public participation sat on the NACWG throughout Phase One. Commenting on the announcement, she said: “The recommendations delivered by the National Advisory Council were done so with the genuine intention to improve the lives of women and girls in Scotland. With the content of all three annual reports accepted and supported, it’s now time to ensure these changes are actually put into action to make this intention into a reality.

“Over this next phase, we’ll be focusing on accountability and participation. We will be challenging the Scottish Government and beyond to deliver these recommendations effectively and pushing for the needs of the most marginalised women to be at the centre of design and implementation.”

Talat is also a Co-Founder of Women 5050, the national campaign for fair representation of women in Scottish public life and the Founder of Pass the Mic, a national project focused on amplifying the voices of women of colour in Scottish media and beyond.

Anna Ritchie Allan, who comes to the NACWG with a wealth of experience in policy advocacy on women’s labour rights and equality, added: “The NACWG’s recommendations are bold and wide-ranging, and accountability is necessary to drive systemic change. The work comes at a critical time, as Covid-19 has magnified women and girls’ inequality. The accountability phase creates an opportunity to do things differently, to ensure that Scottish Government deliver on its commitments around gender equality. Our recommendations are a starting point for change, but effective implementation is needed if change is to be meaningful for marginalised women and girls.”

Anna is also the Executive Director of Close the Gap, Scotland’s policy advocacy organisation working on women’s labour market equality which works with policymakers, employers and unions to influence and enable action to address the causes of the gender pay gap.

For more information about this next phase of the NACWG, click here.