NICOLA Sturgeon has insisted the misogyny is potentially worse now than it was when she first started out in politics more than 20 years ago.

The First Minister appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain (GMB) on Monday after senior MPs called for a drastic overhaul of Westminster's culture amid concerns over sexism and inappropriate behaviour by politicians.

She said she felt social media had handed sexist men a platform to hurl direct abuse at women in a way they couldn't previously.

And she said it has led to some comments being much worse than they would've been in previous decades because people can hide behind a computer.

She told GMB: "I don’t think there is a woman alive, not just in politics but in any walk of life, who will not have experienced somewhere on the spectrum of misogyny and sexism behaviour which is unacceptable.

"For many, including myself, that will be at the end of the spectrum that is inappropriate comments and a sense of a culture of sexism, men making comments about what you wear and your hair and stuff.

"Of course, for some women, that goes to the other end of the spectrum and involves serious sexual assault and sometimes murder, so it's a societal problem.

"It can be worse in politics and public life. 

“In some ways, I think it is worse today than it was when I was a woman starting out in politics."

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The First Minister also said the SNP had struggled to get women to put themselves forward as candidates in the local election because of sexism in society and politics.

She added: “In this election, my party – and I think it will be the same for other parties – have found it more difficult than at any election I remember to persuade women to come forward because there’s a sense that politics is not a safe space.”

Sturgeon was asked whether a Daily Mail front page from 2017 which featured a picture of her and then Prime Minister Theresa May with the headline "Never Mind Brexit, who won Legs-It?" was an example of how things were getting worse.

But while she insisted that was unacceptable, she said social media was what she felt had driven an increase in misogynistic comments.

"Women have been getting reduced to their body parts for as long as I can remember. But what I was talking about was the very toxic culture social media plays a big part in creating and sustaining," Sturgeon added.

"The people who will hurl sexist abuse at women in public life, they've always been there, but social media gives them direct access in a way that didn't exist when I was much younger.

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"I think it has also led to a situation where things that previously some people might have thought but not said, there is a sense they can say them now because they don't have to come face-to-face with them."

The conversation around misogyny has intensified in recent days after Tory MP Neil Parish was forced to resign after being caught watching pornography in the House of Commons.

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has since said "radical action" and a review of working practices at Westminster are needed.

Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has also spoken out on the sexism she has faced during her time in politics.

She said: “You get treated differently online, and in terms of my own experiences, you get talked down to. I’ve been to places where my male chief of staff was given the tour and not me, and he was spoken to and not me, even though I was a party leader.

“I’ve had comments, leers, inappropriate arms that linger too long, hands that go too low. All that sort of stuff.

“I’d like to think my force field is quite large, but it doesn’t always save you, and it’s not acceptable.”