First Minister Nicola Sturgeon affirmed that she did not see greater recognition of trans rights as a threat to women or feminism, while speaking on human rights at the United Nations.

Speaking on gender equality, the First Minister was recorded saying: "Scotland has plans to bring forward legislation to simplify the process around gender recognition. It doesn’t change the fundamentals. It simply makes that process easier. And, I hope, intends to put more dignity into that process for people who are going through the process of changing their gender.

In response to questions from Yahoo Finance on the discussion around trans equality, Sturgeon responded: "This debate has become, in many countries, very polarized, and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to try and depolarize it. The reason why I think it’s important to simplify the procedure around gender recognition is that many transgender people go through extreme difficulties in a whole range of different ways and I think we should be doing everything we can to address that and to recognize their rights and to allow them to express those rights as fully as possible.

"In my view, some of the concerns that are expressed on the part of women and feminists, while we have to listen and understand that, I think many of those are misplaced.

She concluded: "As an ardent, passionate feminist, and have been all of my life, I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism. But I think there is a need to bring different parts of this debate together and to try to find the way forward that will respect the rights of transgender people and recognizes and hopefully addresses some of the concerns that are expressed."

Nicola Sturgeon was yesterday named as the inaugural global advocate for a UN gender equality solidarity campaign.

She was given the role as the Scottish Government became a signatory to the HeForShe movement founded by UN Women. It aims to engage men and boys as advocates for equality.

Sturgeon’s appointment was announced during a meeting with the executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in New York. As a global advocate, the First Minister has pledged to make concrete commitments to advancing gender equality around the world and to support UN Women in its work to end global gender inequality. Sturgeon, who is on a five-day visit to the US and Canada also announced a new pilot project to reduce rates of early and child marriage in rural areas of Malawi as part of a further Scottish Government partnership with UN Women.