Have your say on racism and gender inequality in Scotland

It is three years since the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls was launched.

Saturday, 6th June 2020, 4:45 pm
Council appeal...set up a ‘Wee Circle’ to make sure your views are heard.

Focusing on different spotlight themes, the council encourages people across Scotland to share ideas and opinions on different gender equality issues.

The latest spotlight is racism and inequality and the council is asking readers, particularly women and girls, to share their views.

As well as providing a greater understanding of racism in Scotland, the council hopes people’s own lived experiences will help shape new legislatoon to build a better future and help create a society where we are all equal.

Taking action...Katie Horsburgh is now working on making a council recommendation a reality.

NACWG is urging readers to back the #GenerationEqual movement by sharing their experiences to help eradicate racism and achieve equality in Scotland.

Dr Ima Jackson, who joined Louise Macdonald as co-chair of the council in 2020, said: “Racism and inequality are still problems in Scotland, particularly for women.

“Women and girls are too often discouraged within society to reach their full potential because of both their gender and the colour of their skin.

“We invite people across Scotland to share their views and experiences, whether they themselves or someone they know is affected by these issues.

“We will use this feedback to help advise the First Minister what is needed to tackle gender inequality and racism through our recommendations.

“This is an opportunity for the people of Scotland to play a part in real and lasting change for everyone.”

To take part in the national conversation, people are encouraged to form a ‘Wee Circle’ with family, friends or colleagues with the aim of discussing the issues surrounding racism and inequality for women and girls.

Feedback from these discussions can be submitted online at onescotland.org/NACWG.

And you can rest assured your submissions will help to influence the future shape of our country.

For far from being a talking shop, the NACWG has already made a very real difference in our lives – with the Scottish Government introducing new legislation on the back of its two previous annual reports.

The NACWG was established as a catalyst for change, playing a leading role in raising the issue of gender inequality by providing a challenging voice to the First Minister.

One of those voices is Katie Horsburgh from Edinburgh, who has been a member of the council from the start, aged 16, as the young spokesperson for Girlguiding Scotland.

Now 20, she is in little doubt of the difference the council has made since 2017.

Katie said: “The council works with 1200 people across Scotland, experts and stakeholders who help inform our thinking.

“Our spotlights help us reach out to the wider community, digitally.

“We then absorb all of that information to make formal recommendations to the First Minister in our annual reports every year.

“Our inaugural meeting was in December 2017 and we have one year left to help make a difference.

“In 2018, we looked at attitudes to gender equality and made 11 recommendations to the First Minister, all of which were accepted.

“I’m now part of the team working on one of those recommendations, a review of the education system in terms of gender.

“I’m proud to be part of that and being able to see our recommendations turned into action. We’re making a tangible difference that changes the system, rather than tweaking parts of it.

“In 2019, we focused on government policies and whether they were compatible.

“This year, we’re looking at the structures needed for gender equality.”

Katie is eager for people to share their views and hopes readers will get on board.

She added: “We know women and girls in Scotland continue to face inequalities that negatively affect their daily lives.

“We want people to share their stories and tell us what we can do to fix it. My advice would be to be bold!

“We will listen – that’s our job – but, more importantly, it will also inform our future recommendations to the First Minister.“

The NACWG’s spotlight on racism and inequality runs until the end of this month. The council would like to hear from individuals of any gender.

People can share their views on social media using the hashtag #GenerationEqual.

And you can read the NACWG’s 2019 report and recommendations at onescotland.org/NACWG.