Nicola Sturgeon praises Eilidh Barbour after walking out of SFWA dinner

The First Minister said the broadcaster and colleagues deserve credit for speaking out.

Nicola Sturgeon praises Eilidh Barbour after walking out of SFWA dinner SNS GroupSTV News
The issue was raised at FMQs by former sports minister Joe FitzPatrick.

Sexism and misogyny still runs “far too deep” in society, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as she praised broadcaster Eilidh Barbour who walked out of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association (SFWA) dinner.

Sky sports presenter Barbour spoke out after offensive jokes were made by after-dinner speaker Bill Copeland at the gala in Glasgow last week.

Following the awards ceremony, Barbour said that she had “never felt so unwelcome” in the industry.

In a statement, the SFWA said it was sorry “to anyone offended or upset by material from one of our after-dinner speakers”.

A campaign has since been launched by the Women in Journalism Scotland (WiJS) aimed at tackling gender inequality in Scottish print sports journalism.

Research highlighted by the group showed that of 95 staff roles on sports desks at national and regional print titles in Scotland, just three are filled by women. 

The issue was raised at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday by SNP MSP and former sports minister Joe FitzPatrick.

He said: “Whilst recognising the apology that has been issued, does the First Minister agree that this appears to be a shocking illustration of the outdated, discriminatory attitudes that still exist in football, and indeed in journalism, that need to be eradicated?”

The First Minister responded by saying she believes Barbour and her colleagues deserve credit for speaking out about the behaviour.

“From what I’ve read of what occurred at that particular awards dinner was unacceptable,” she said.

“And I would pay tribute to Eilidh Barbour and others who I think very courageously took a stand against that and spoke out.

“It’s not easy, ever, for any woman in particular in a traditionally man’s world to speak out in that way and I think Eilidh and her colleagues deserve credit for doing so.”

The First Minister added: “I think we’ve seen over the past week, that is one example, I think there has been another reported, that sexism and misogyny still runs far too deep in our society.

“And it is a reminder that it must be tackled, but it is also a reminder that it starts with male behaviour and it’s male behaviour that we must see change.”