Scotland politics

Only a third of election candidates female

ballot box Image copyright PA
Image caption Gender 5050 wants at least half of election candidates to be women

Only about one in three candidates for the forthcoming council elections in Scotland are women, according to analysis by a campaign group.

Women 5050 said just 775 of the 2,550 people standing on 4 May are female.

No political party has a 50/50 gender split in its candidates - with fewer than one in six Scottish Conservative candidates female.

Women 5050 is campaigning for an equal gender split in councils and the Scottish Parliament.

It said it had analysed the candidate lists of every ward in all 32 local authority areas as part of its research.

It found 21 wards which only had men on the ballot paper - with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (10%) Orkney (20%) and Moray (20%) having the fewest proportion of female candidates overall.

West Lothian (41%) and East Ayrshire (40%) had the highest percentages.

No party achieved 50% female candidates, with the Scottish Greens on 45%, followed by the SNP on 41%, Scottish Liberal Democrats on 33% and Scottish Labour on 32%.

But only 17% of Scottish Conservative candidates, and 18% of independent candidates, were female.

Gender quotas

Women 5050 chairwoman Talat Yaqoob said only a quarter of councillors were currently women - and that the research made clear "we will not reach fair representation for women in 2017".

She added: "It is time for rhetoric to be turned to action, and we must implement legislation for all parties to follow, to make sure decision-makers reflect the society they are meant to represent."

The group has called for gender quotas to ensure that all parties have to put forward at least 50% women candidates in the Scottish Parliament and council elections, with similar legislation for public boards.

Scottish Conservative equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells pointed out that the party's current UK and Scottish leaders were women - and that the Conservatives had provided the country's only two female prime ministers.

She added: "Ruth Davidson is living proof that for women who want to get right to the top, the Conservative Party is the place to do exactly that."

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