Our Vision & Background


In 2016, organisations working for equal representation of women, disabled people, BME people and people from the LGBTI community, came together to discuss how best to work for equal representation in politics. The organisations were Engender, CEMVO, Inclusion Scotland, CRER, the 1 in 5 Campaign, BEMIS, Stonewall Scotland, Women 50:50, the Equality Network, the Scottish Refugee Council, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament. A shared vision with accompanying asks was created:


We have a vision for Scotland where our elected representatives truly reflect the diversity of the Scottish population – improving democracy, increasing engagement in public life, enriching policy decisions, and therefore bringing benefits to all.


1. Commit to the vision for meaningful representation as set out by equalities organisations.

2. Audit the diversity of party members, activists, staff, candidates and elected representatives at all levels, creating a benchmark against which to monitor change.

3. Set targets, and/or quotas where applicable, where there is under-representation, taking account of intersectionality and individuals’ multiple identities, and implement actions to meet any targets set.

4. Audit and address barriers to participation in all party activities, including but not limited to, standing in elections.

5. Commit to support and work with organisations and campaigns working to increase the participation of under-represented groups.

To achieve the vision, the SNP, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Green Party and Scottish Lib Dems were asked to sign a pledge to take action to make the vision and asks a reality. All five parties signed up, stating their commitment to making equal representation in Scottish politics.

Many of the organisations involved in this campaign work went on to form the Equal Representation Coalition.

The Equal Representation Toolkit has been created to support the parties to achieve these goals and make their commitments a reality. To learn more about the Toolkit, please see the ‘About this Toolkit’ section.