The Scottish National Party is to introduce all-women shortlists after its members voted in favour of the positive action at the party’s pre-election conference this weekend.
The media were not allowed to witness the debate that led to the vote – SNP officials feared it would be too heated, apparently – but the Guardian reports that the SNP will “now introduce an all-women shortlist for a Holyrood seat where the sitting MP stands down, ensure that any open shortlist for a constituency seat has at least one women candidate, [and] introduce alternate male and female candidates on the regional list, a policy known as zipping.”
This long-awaited shift brings the party’s stance on gender equality more in line with other centre-left parties like Labour, the Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats. Moves to promote gender equality within the SNP were voted down in 1999 but the influx of younger members after the Scottish independence referendum, as well as the work of Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the party, meant that this time the party voted “heavily” in favour of all-women shortlists. It’s overdue but welcome news.