February 2022 - Policy Round Up

The graphic shows a light green background with bright green and dark green left-aligned text that reads "Last month in feminist policy". In the top right-hand corner of the graphic there is Engender's logo, which is an equals sign in a bright green circle. In the bottom right-hand corner of the graphic there is an icon of an open book in bright green and dark green.

Each month we share a summary of the policy work Engender has been doing . You can find all of our latest briefings and publications here, or in the links below.

A Gender Audit for the Scottish Parliament

We're excited to welcome the recent announcement that the Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone MSP, will be leading a Gender Audit of the Scottish Parliament. We've been calling for such an audit - as advocated for by the Interparliamentary Union and the European Institute for Gender Equality - for a long time, and so we're really pleased to be invited to sit on the advisory group for the audit.

Achieving women’s equal representation in politics is about more than just looking at the numbers of elected representatives (important though this is). By examining the make-up of committees, gathering data on who is being invited to give evidence, and understanding where gender mainstreaming is being ignored, a Gender Audit can help us work towards a Scottish Parliament which creates better legislation and leads policy change across Scotland for women.

Read more about Gender Audits and what this means for women in Scotland in this blog from our Policy and Parliamentary Manager Eilidh Dickson.

#NotInOurName - Rejecting the Nationality and Borders Bill

"We must act – in Scotland – to use the powers we have to object in the strongest possible terms, to push back and stand with our fellow human beings through practical action, and to say loudly and clearly: not in our name."

Last week we joined over 60 Scottish organisations, including Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council and JustRight Scotland, to unite against the UK Government's Nationality and Borders Bill to say #NotInOurName, urging MSPs to vote against the bill in Holyrood on Tuesday evening. You can read the full statement here.

The Scottish Parliament voted 94 Yes to 29 No - in favour of the motion to reject the Nationality and Borders Bill, sending a clear message that refugees are welcome here in Scotland. This follows the Welsh Parliament rejecting the Westminster legislation earlier this month. Read about why the bill is so dangerous and why this vote matters from Scottish Refugee Council here, as well as coverage in The National here.

Response from John Swinney MSP to our letter on the Covid-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference

Last month we co-ordinated a letter to John Swinney from 27 organisations working for equality and human rights in Scotland expressing our “dismay” and “deep concerns” following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Terms of Reference for a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland.

We've received a response to this letter, which you can access here. Needless to say, we're disappointed in this response, which seems to completely miss the point of taking an equalities response. While we are pleased to hear that "the Inquiry will be undertaken in a way that ensures human rights and equality considerations are at the heart of it", if this does not appear directly in the Terms of Reference, there is no guarantee this will actually happen.

We'll continue to challenge the Scottish Government on this.

These extracts are all taken from Friday Feminist Five, our weekly round up for Engender members with news, events, and interesting things to read and watch. Want to receive it? Become a member here.

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