SCOTLAND could lead the world by bringing in misogyny laws to tackle gender based violence and harassment, and it would be a missed opportunity if the recommendations aren’t taken up in full.

The Misogyny: A Human Rights Issue report is comprehensive, it has drilled to the core of the issues facing women and girls in Scotland, and it gives the Scottish Government concrete actions to take forward - this isn’t just platitudes on International Women’s Day, this is a game changer.

As Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said as she launched the report at the Glasgow Women’s Library on Tuesday, her suggestions are a package “not to be cherry picked”.

READ MORE: Scotland should bring in world-leading misogyny act, Baroness Helena Kennedy urges

It seeks to address the insidiousness of misogyny, and how far ranging it is. It isn’t going to stop locker room banter, mother-in-law jokes or criminalise thought - Kennedy was explicit in setting out that the conduct stemming from misogyny is what will become an offence - but it gets to the crux of the problem; the justice system as it stands does not work for women and men need to be held accountable for their behaviour towards women.

The most radical shift that the report suggests is the move away from law being “neutral” for both men and women, because that assumes that men and women are equal.

Instead, the creation of three new offences; stirring up hatred against women and girls, public misogynistic harassment and issuing threats of rape, sexual assault or disfigurement - online or offline - will specifically target one of the biggest issues facing women in Scotland.

The National:

Baroness Helena Kennedy launched the report on International Women's Day

This isn’t criminalising wolf whistling, or trying to chat someone up at a bus stop, it’s when those actions become violent or intimidating, most of the time after the man has been rejected. 

Threatening women with sexual violence online would also provide protections 

You just have to look at the lived experience survey analysis which informed the report - 63.5% of the 930 respondents said they had experienced misogyny in the street, but that is not the full picture.

When the same question was applied to online and social media - the figure jumps to 72.8%.

READ MORE: Podcast: Karen Adam on misogyny, LGBT rights on International Women's Day

These offences would also allow the police to be able to record the scale of this type of behaviour in Scotland - something that has never been done before.

With social media more ingrained in our lives than ever before, it’s imperative that we do what we can now to stop the next generation of Scottish women and girls from facing abuse, misogyny and hatred as part of their daily lives.

We know that misogyny is prevalent in our society, but if women don’t trust the system, the police or the courts, then they won’t come forward.

Kennedy’s suggestions, if brought in in full, would be a significant step in the right direction, it would change the lives of so many women and girls, and go a long way in starting to build that trust in the system back.

Would a Misogyny Act pass in the Scottish Parliament?

It certainly has the backing of the SNP. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave the plan her approval and said the contents would be “considered carefully” as she opened a debate on Holyrood on International Women’s Day. Justice Secretary Keith Brown made similar comments.

The LibDems have said the report should be a “watershed moment”, so it is likely that they will support it.

The Scottish Tories have said they “back the principles behind the vast majority of Baroness Kennedy’s recommendations”, but did not expand on which principles they didn’t support.

The Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour did not respond to our request asking if they supported the report’s recommendations.

So, on the balance of probabilities it is likely, but only time will tell.