Scottish Parliament Chamber

New review into representation of women in Scottish Parliament


CCC Co-Director Meryl Kenny has joined the academic advisory board for a new review of the representation and participation of women in the Scottish Parliament, launched today by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone.

The audit will cover a wide range of issues, including the number and position of women parliamentarians; participation and intervention levels in Chamber business; and the impact of parliamentary procedures and policies.

It will work with Holyrood’s political parties and parliamentary staff, leading academics in the field, and Engender, a feminist policy and advocacy organisation.

Academic advisory group

Meryl Kenny, Co-Director at the Centre on Constitutional Change, is on the academic advisory board. Her expertise is in the areas of gender and political institutions, political representation and recruitment, and Scottish politics.

Joining her as academic advisors are CCC Associated Fellow Fiona Mackay, Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh, and Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics & Gender at Royal Holloway (joining the University of Edinburgh in May 2022).

Recommendations to be shared in a report in May 2022

Work on the audit will begin immediately with a report detailing recommendations for improvement due by the end of 2022.

Based on work developed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, all of Holyrood’s parties will be represented on a board that will oversee this work, consider the audit’s findings and make recommendations for change.

Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone MSP, said: “Last May’s election returned our most representative and diverse Parliament to date. We know, though, from viewing the Parliament’s make up from 1999 until now, that this welcome progress can’t be taken for granted.  This is an important opportunity to have a broad look at how the Parliament takes account of barriers to equal representation in its work.”

Fiona Mackay, CCC Associated Fellow, Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh and one of the academic advisers to the board, said: “When the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, it was internationally praised for its world-leading levels of women’s representation, and its attention to equal opportunities and participation. Now is a good time to take stock. This audit, based on a well-tested comparative framework, will let us know how well Scotland has done over the long haul. And, crucially, what work still needs to be done to make it an inclusive parliament for the 21st Century.”

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