CAMPAIGNERS opposed to gender law changes will today gather outside Holyrood as Nicola Sturgeon attends an International Women’s Day event inside.

Sturgeon and Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie are amongst the speakers set to address around 400 people at the Scottish Parliament in an annual event organised by the Scottish Women’s Convention (SWC) to “commemorate the achievements of women and their fight for democracy”.

The non-party event, which comes ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, will “highlight the far-ranging achievements of women” from different cultures and backgrounds, according to SWC chair Agnes Tolmie.

The First Minister has indicated that she will use her speech to “celebrate just some of the things we in the Scottish Government and Parliament have achieved” for women and girls, “from legislating to ensure gender equality on public sector boards, to being a world leader in tackling period poverty”.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon will speak about the Government's achievements for women, including tackling period povertyNicola Sturgeon will speak about the Government's achievements for women, including tackling period poverty

But outside the event, the group For Women Scotland will accuse the Scottish Government and “many MSPs” of ignoring “profound concerns” about draft legislation which aims to make it easier for transgender people to get legal recognition of their identity.

This includes removing the need for medical evidence to prove a gender dysphoria diagnosis and reducing the amount of time applicants must live in their acquired gender before making a legal change to three months.

The move, currently the subject of a consultation, has been welcomed by LGBT charity Stonewall Scotland and the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, amongst others. The Scottish Trans Alliance says the shift will make life “simpler and fairer” for those affected.

But For Women Scotland has accused the Scottish Government and “many MSPs” of ignoring “profound concerns” about the impact of the change on women’s rights and services.

It says today’s protest is necessary so that “as many people as possible understand the threat to Scottish women’s rights and respond to the consultation”.

The SWC event is one of a number of initiatives marking International Women’s Day. Copies of We Shall Fight Until We Win, a graphic novel about women and politics, will be donated to every high school library in the country in a move worth £20,000 thanks to the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and publishers 404ink and BHP Comics.

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Members of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) draped sashes on statues of pioneering women like Glasgow philanthropist Isabella Elder and Edinburgh social activist Helen Crummy.

Women leaders at Glasgow University staged an all-female photograph to highlight changes since their male predecessors made their own version in 1870.

And a “Flying Scotswoman” train with an all-female crew – including four sisters – travelled from Edinburgh to London in a “proud moment” for driver Kelly Measures, 32.

A total of 42% of LNER employees are women, which is less than Scotland’s 52% female headcount.

NACWG co-chair Louise Macdonald said: “Women are not niche; we are half the world.

“We want to encourage conversation around societal change, challenge this under-representation and make women’s contributions to society more visible.”