Yesterday Kezia Dugdale urged the current all male Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) to step down to allow a more gender balanced SPCB to take it's place.
The request comes in the wake of a slew of allegations and resignations around sexual harassment and abuse in both Holyrood and Westminster.
The SPCB are responsible for the running, staffing and finances of the Scottish Parliament, it includes a representative from each of the political parties in the parliament as well as the presiding officer. Currently all five members are male as are the presiding officer, Ken Macintosh, and the chief executive of the Scottish Parliament, Sir Paul Grice.
In a letter to SPCB members, Ms Dugdale said:
“I have long held view that the gender composition of the parliament matters."
“I think the revelations of the past fortnight however bring a sharper focus to the decision making bodies within the parliament, notably the SPCB and the parliamentary bureau."
“Given these are the bodies which set the parliament’s policy on a whole range of issues related to the day to day the running of the parliament, I think it’s no longer tenable for it to be an all-male domain."
“Knowing most of you well – I have no doubt in my mind that is a view which you are likely to share or at least have sympathy with.”
Ms. Dugdale suggested a system in which gender parity was instigated by a ballot to determine which parties need to provide a female representative to the SPCB, with the others allowed to choose either male or female.
If the Lib Dems, who have no female MSPs, were picked to provide a female member, Dugdale suggests that they could pick a man, but then to compensate, all the female MSPs in the parliament could select an additional women to act as an adviser on equality issues.
Last week saw children's minister Mark McDonald of the SNP resign on account of past 'inappropriate behaviour', UK defence minister Micheal Fallon also resigned from the government due to 'unacceptable' behaviour. Following a cross-party meeting last week, a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment was agreed by all parties.
Source: Holyrood Magazine