NONE of Scotland’s main political parties managed to produce a gender balanced candidate list for the upcoming local elections, The Sunday National can reveal.

Some parties were closer than others, but across the board just under 34% of all 2546 candidates standing are women, while 66% are male.

The figures were not a surprise to campaigners from 50:50 Parliament, who have been vocal in pushing women to stand in elections, but they were described as “disappointing”.

The Sunday National analysed each candidate list from Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, categorising each political hopeful by council, ward, party and gender to see how balanced the overall picture is.

The results showed that women are significantly underrepresented ahead of the election on May 5. Out of the top five Holyrood parties, the Greens came out on top. Out of 239 candidates, 52.72% (126) are male, while 46.44% are female. The party are also fielding two non-binary candidates.

The SNP were next with 57.35% male candidates (320) compared to 42.65% female candidates (238) out of a total of 558. Scottish Labour sat in the middle with 63.41% male candidates (260) and 36.58% female (150).

Interestingly, the gender balance was better amongst Labour & Co-operative candidates. When looking at those political hopefuls alone, the split worked out at 57.58% male (19), and 42.2% female (14).

At the bottom were the LibDems and Scottish Conservatives. Out of the LibDem’s 268 candidates, 67.16% (180) are male, and only 32.84% (88) are female.

For the Tories, the split was 71.94% (300) male, to 28.06% (117) female.

Aside from smaller parties, of which many stood only male candidates, the number of independent candidates was also heavily skewed towards men.

Out of 357 independents across Scotland, 78.71% (281) are male, and only 21.29% (76) are female.

Frances Scott, the founder of campaign group 50:50 parliament, which hopes to encourage more women into public life, told the Sunday National that the figures are disheartening.

She said: “It’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing.

“It comes back to the fact that democracy was designed by men for men over 2000 years ago. Women have only participated in the last 100 years.

“It is a historic and systemic problem.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater (below) told the Sunday National that the party had been “proactive” in trying to increase the number of female candidates across all levels of government.

The National:

She said: “I am proud that we are standing a higher proportion of women in these local elections than any other major party.

“At the Holyrood election last year five of eight Green MSPs elected were women and we are determined to replicate that success by electing more women to local councils than ever before.

“The gender balance of Scotland’s councillors is historically very poor. There are significant structural and cultural reasons for this, notably the low pay councillors receive. I hope that this is something that can be addressed in the near term.”

Slater also criticised other parties for not making gender balance a priority.

She said: “Ultimately, if we are to have local authorities that truly represent our communities, then it means that every party needs to be proactive when it comes to supporting women to stand.

“While the Scottish Greens will continue to do all we can to improve the situation it seems that some of our opponents don’t understand how vital gender balance is to good policy making and implementation.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “There is clearly more to be done to achieve gender balance, and the SNP is always working on what further actions we can be taking to ensure we have better representation of all our communities across Scotland.

“Every political party has a duty to ensure that our political landscape is fair, diverse and representative of our society – but it’s clear that some have got more to do than others.”

Scottish Labour said they are “committed to supporting women into politics” and are proud of their diverse candidate list, while the LibDems said they “know how important it is to have diverse candidates” and highlighted female candidates standing in the Highlands and Scottish Borders.

The Scottish Tories said they “recognise” they have work to do, but claimed they were standing more women than “ever before”.

A spokesperson added: “Groups like Women 2 Win and Scottish Conservative Friends of BAME are convincing more women to stand.

“The toxic attacks on female politicians, particularly Conservative women, make this harder.”