News Release – 31st March 2022


Circle Handover event

Advisory Council shares next steps for Scotland’s gender equality action plan

Nicola Sturgeon joined the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) and its ‘Circle’ of supporters at a virtual event on Thursday (31 March), to formally launch Phase Two of the equality programme.

The First Minister was joined by Christina McKelvie, Minister for Equalities and Older People, and other Scottish Government officials, following a private handover meeting with predecessor Co-Chairs Louise Macdonald OBE and Dr Ima Jackson.

Recapping on the achievements of Phase One of the NACWG, before handing over to Phase Two leaders Talat Yaqoob and Anna Ritchie Allan, Nicola Sturgeon had the opportunity to express her gratitude for the challenges set out during Phase One of this work, before highlighting her ambitions for Phase Two.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Across the Scottish Government, we are working hard to ensure gender inequality becomes a thing of the past, and to make Scotland a more inclusive place for women and girls. We have the recommendations from the Council and now Phase Two will scrutinise our work to deliver these ambitious proposals. I want to be challenged, and I want this Government and our work to be challenged to ensure we get this right first time and the future for women and girls becomes the fairest and most prosperous it can be.”

The Advisory Council’s Phase Two focus will include convening a panel of women with lived expertise of poverty and inequality to play a key, evidence-based role. The panel will work with the Advisory Council to scrutinise the implementation of recommendations and hold the Scottish Government accountable. The panel will be formed from community based and grassroots organisations and focus on those who have not had access to policy influencing before.

Giving a flavour of what to expect in this next phase, new Co-Chair Anna Ritchie Allan told attendees: “Phase One produced a set of bold and wide-ranging recommendations to drive forward gender equality in Scotland and our role in Phase Two is to scrutinise the implementation of that package.

“Accountability was important to Phase One and it will be defining feature of Phase Two. Our scrutiny work will ensure that Scottish Government is accountable and that the recommendations are being implemented in line with the Advisory Council’s ambitions.”

Over its initial three-year term, the NACWG built an over 1,300-strong inclusive ‘Circle’ of ambassadors to provide diverse insights and evidence of gender inequality across all sectors to help the NACWG form its recommendations to advocate wider societal change.

Evolving with the NACWG, the Circle will now also have a different role to play in Phase Two with these members urged to implement change in their organisations, networks and communities. This will support the NACWG’s ambition to realise equality for women and girls in Scotland.

Speaking to the Circle, NACWG Co-Chair Talat Yaqoob said: “We do not want this work to be only influenced by the same people who have access to power in Scotland. We want to know what action organisations from across sectors in Scotland are taking to genuinely tackle women’s inequality . All of us have a responsibility to tackle inequality in the spaces we occupy, whether that is in the public, private or voluntary sector. We need more people to take ownership of this change to reach the tipping point necessary in Scotland to truly delivery a fairer society for women and girls.