Nicola Sturgeon: Men need to change to make politics better for women

The First Minister said women were too often reduced ‘to their body parts’.

25 April 2022

It is up to men to make politics better for women by ending misogynistic behaviour, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister’s comments come in the wake of a controversy sparked by a story in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, in which anonymous Tory MPs accused Labour Deputy leader, Angela Rayner, of attempting to distract the Prime Minister by crossing and uncrossing her legs in the Commons chamber.

The comments, which were condemned across the political spectrum, resulted in calls from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to end the “misogynistic culture” at Westminster.

When asked by the PA news agency how politics can be made more welcoming to women, the First Minister simply said: “Men have to stop being misogynist.”

Angela Rayner in the House of Commons
Labour’s Angela Rayner was accused of distracting the Prime Minister (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

She added: “Not all men are misogynist, but misogyny comes from men and that’s what needs to change.

“It’s not women that need to change, it’s the conduct and behaviour and attitudes of men.”

Ms Sturgeon, one of the most high profile women in UK politics, went on to say that women are too often reduced “to their body parts”.

“I’ve been subject to that, all women in public life have been,” she said.

“And, also, this suggestion that the failures of men can always be laid at the door of a woman.

“The fact that Boris Johnson performs poorly in the House of Commons, the fact that Angela Rayner manages to out-debate him on every occasion that they’re up against each other, is somehow Angela Rayner’s fault rather than the fact that Boris Johnson’s just not very good at his job.”

When asked what repercussions those who briefed the story to the press should face, the First Minister said that was for the Conservative Party to decide, adding she hoped they would be dealt with “seriously”.

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