This is a good move by the SNP for sure! The only thing I will say is I hope Nicola doesn’t take it too far in the way there are more woman than men. EX-SNP MSP John Wilson stood down last year ‘stating there was no ‘Best person for the Job mentality’ at play within the Scottish National Party. Now when John stood down from his position it got very little news coverage and that for me is a worry. If we want a free Scotland, and I know you do, I do, we must have a transparent SNP with transparent news also! I like the fact Woman should be given a job due to their ability and also paid the same. The SNP must be real careful here they don’t cross a line where woman are getting jobs purely on gender and not ability to do the job. Now I will say no more here, I think we all agree on woman having equal rights and opportunities but we must not go past that line of woman first. So when I say this is good news, it is good news if implemented correctly #Alba
~~Via http://www.heraldscotland.com/ ~~
THE SNP is to create a new powerful role within the party with a remit to promote gender equality, in a move that could reopen internal tensions over use of all-women shortlists. Plans have been outlined internally to create a National Women’s and Equalities Convener, who would be heavily involved in the vetting and selection of candidates.
The details are being proposed by the SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in a draft agenda for the party’s upcoming conference in October.
Under the proposals, which have been circulated to members, the party constitution would be changed to ensure the convenor becomes one of ten SNP national office bearers alongside figures including Nicola Sturgeon. They will also have a place on the influential NEC, which sets the political direction of the SNP and has the final say over who can stand for election. It follows the SNP’s last conference in March, which saw the membership vote to allow all-female shortlists in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections despite strong opposition from some members.
Since the decision, all nine seats held by the SNP for next year’s Holyrood vote where the incumbent is standing down have since seen all-female shortlists imposed on constituencies by party HQ. The move has provoked a backlash from some party members who are unhappy that men have been excluded from the chance to stand in their local area, with competition fiercer than ever due to the party’s increased membership and ratings in the polls.
John Wilson (Left), an MSP who quit the SNP last year, said that the issue had caused division. He said: “There was a strong view within the SNP that it should be the best candidates chosen, regardless of gender. I think there are still a lot of members like that, including some female members.” The appointment of a permanent equalities convenor with a remit over vetting and selection suggests that positive discrimination could become a feature of internal party politics beyond next May’s election.
The job description for the new role states that the new convenor will be “responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of equality strategies, approved by the NEC, to cover under-represented and minority groups”. They will support constituency and branch women’s officers and chair the SNP Women’s Academy while advising “on equality issues relating to internal procedures, such as vetting and selection”.
The position will replace the role of women’s and equalities officer, currently held by Ochil and South Perthshire MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh who will be seen as the most likely choice to take on the more powerful job. Party members will vote on who wins the post, with an SNP source saying the creation of the prominent role was “an extension of democracy” within the party.
Adopting a sharper focus on dealing with issues of gender equality has become a characteristic of Ms Sturgeon’s leadership. The move to allow all-female shortlists came after she appointed Scotland’s first gender balanced cabinet and launched a series of high-profile initiatives including encouraging equal gender splits in boardrooms by 2020. It has led to accusations from some quarters that Ms Sturgeon should get her own house in order, with just over a quarter of her MSPs female. Almost half of Labour MSPs, a party that embraced all female shortlists long before the SNP, are women. However, under Ms Sturgeon’s leadership the party had the highest proportion of female candidates among main parties in Scotland at May’s general election. At Westminster, 36 per cent of SNP MPs are female, compared to 43 per cent of Labour MPs and 21 per cent of Tories.
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