Scottish Parliament 20th anniversary event to encourage more women to become politicians
Scottish Parliament debating chamber - Image credit: Anita Gould
An event to inspire more women to become politicians is to be held at the Scottish Parliament as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.
Scotland’s Women Stand has been organised by the Scottish Parliament along with The Parliament Project, a non-partisan initiative to encourage women to run for political office, and YWCA Scotland.
It will see the parliament’s debating chamber opened up to over 400 women from across Scotland for a “day of action and inspiration” on Saturday 7 September.
The event aims to tackle the current gender imbalance in Scottish politics by encouraging more women to put themselves forward.
It will look at their roles and potential to have a voice in Scottish political life, with inspiration from high-profile women who already playing a key role in politics.
The aim is to demystify the political process and offer insight into how women can influence politics in Scotland.
Registration for the event is open to all women from across Scotland and the organisers say they are collaborating with third sector organisations to ensure the event is inclusive and accessible to women from all backgrounds.
Deputy presiding officer Linda Fabiani, who will chair the event, said: “The parliament wants to open its doors to over 400 women from across Scotland in a concerted day of action to support and inspire women to get involved in political life in Scotland.
“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.
“In the parliament’s 20th year as we reflect on what the institution has achieved over two decades, we must also look to the future and make sure that the parliament is reflective of the communities that it serves.
“This new programme seeks to shape the future of women in politics in Scotland and take the positive action we need to make the parliament and politics generally more representative.
“But for it to be successful, we need women from across Scotland and for all backgrounds and communities to get involved.”
Lee Chalmers, director of The Parliament Project, said: “We want this event to be a catalyst and an inspiration for women to get involved in politics, but also to equip them with valuable knowledge and skills.
“The Parliament Project has seen several participants in our programme go forward to stand for elected office and this is an opportunity for many more to begin that journey.
“More women as elected representatives is a change we need to support, and this event is a powerful moment in recognising that need, connecting women with a 400-strong group of their peers in Holyrood, a space of political power.
“There will be inclusive workshops and follow-on peer circles to support and inspire women standing for election, or to get involved in participatory democracy.”
YWCA Scotland: The Young Women’s Movement, are working with young women on leadership topics and recently released research with young women showing that politics is not an environment that welcomes them.