Humza Yousaf promises to deliver misogyny bill after summer recess

The First Minister pledged to bring forward legislation on misogyny before the end of the year.

A bill to tackle misogyny in Scotland will be introduced by the end of the year, Humza Yousaf has told STV News.

The First Minister pledged to bring forward the legislation after the Holyrood’s summer recess in September.

The Scottish Government had previously suggested it wanted to introduce such a bill by the end of the parliamentary term in 2026.

Yousaf has come under fire from the likes of SNP MP Joanna Cherry and Harry Potter author JK Rowling for not including women in the Hate Crime and Public Order Act.

The SNP leader said sex was removed as a characteristic following discussions with several women’s groups which preferred standalone legislation.

But the Scottish Tories said not including women showed the Scottish Government wanted to create a “hierarchy” of protected characteristics.

The Scottish Government opted to remove sex as a characteristic in the Hate Crime and Public Order Act.iStock

Speaking to STV Political Editor Colin Mackay at the STUC Congress in Dundee, Yousaf said: “It was women’s groups like Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Engender Scotland who said that actually the characteristic of sex should not be in the Hate Crime Bill.

“Instead there should be a standalone misogyny bill that having consulted on the detail of that [we will] bring that bill forward post the summer recess.”

Asked if that would be before the end of the year, Yousaf said: “Yes, indeed.”

The First Minister has said misogyny legislation will also cover trans women.

A report in 2022 led by Baroness Helena Kennedy recommended the Scottish Parliament introduce a law to tackle misogyny.

It advocates for the creation of a number of new offences aimed at protecting women from abuse.

Amongst those, the law would create an offence for stirring up hatred against women and girls, an offence of public misogynistic harassment, and an offence for issuing threats of or invoking rape, sexual assault or disfigurement of women and girls both online and offline.

Speaking during a ministerial statement at Holyrood on Tuesday, the justice secretary said she was committed to introducing a misogyny law “as soon as possible”.

She said there were good reasons why some women’s groups did not want sex included in the Hate Crime Act.

“Women aren’t a minority,” she said. “We are 51% of the population.

“As Helena Kennedy – who led excellent work in this area and whose recommendations this government has consulted on – as she said the prevalence of misogyny in our society is shocking, it’s shameful and there is no doubt about it that misogyny in some shape or form will have been experienced by every woman the length and breadth in Scotland.

“Therefore we need standalone legislation that attempts to encapsulate the full range of offences motivated by misogyny.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said: “This is yet another attempt by the SNP to create a hierarchy of protected characteristics.

“It risks pitting different activist groups against each other and increasing the toxicity of the debate.”

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