DESCRIPTIONS of Nicola Sturgeon as “tired” and “testy” would not be levelled at a male leader, SNP MSP Emma Roddick has said.

BBC presenter James Naughtie faced criticism after he made a comment about the First Minister’s appearance during a broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday.

As the fallout from Scotland’s gender reforms, the subsequent deployment of Section 35 by Alister Jack to block the legislation and a row around the placement of transgender prisoners, the FM has faced repeated calls from her critics to stand down in recent weeks.

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Roddick told The National she had heard similar comments throughout the past week on various news outlets pushing a “gendered narrative”.

On The World This Weekend, Naughtie opened the segment on the FM’s leadership by saying that after almost 10 years in power, she was “looking tired”.

While former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford defended Sturgeon and her “remarkable leadership”, Roddick said that she felt compelled to note the sexist undertones to the framing of the piece when she was later interviewed on the programme.

After a clip from the FM’s last press conference where she was repeatedly asked if transgender prisoner Isla Bryson was a “man or a woman”, Roddick told the BBC: “If a male politician had to answer the same question over and over because somebody didn’t like the answer and got a bit annoyed by that I don’t think it would make the headlines in this way."

The National: Sturgeon was repeatedly asked if a transgender prisoner was a 'man or a woman' during a press conferenceSturgeon was repeatedly asked if a transgender prisoner was a 'man or a woman' during a press conference

Speaking to The National, Roddick said that in a previous interview last week, a news outlet had described the FM as “testy”.

She explained: “I had one of those arguments in my head, like, do I say it? People are just gonna go, ‘Oh, she can't even deal with her leader being called testy’.

“But I felt like all of these things are things that you just wouldn’t say about the leader of a country who's a man.

“You're allowed to be passionate about things, you're allowed to look a bit knackered after a long 10 years of work, it's not unusual.

“I just think women are held to that higher standard and it's only because I've been thinking about it for the last week like should I have called that out or not, that when I heard ‘Don't you think she looks tired?’ I just thought that's really like a gendered narrative there.

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“It wasn’t to attack him [Naughtie] specifically because he's repeating what all the headlines have been last week.”

Roddick added that she has found the current demands for the FM’s resignation “hard to rationalise” when paired with Sturgeon’s track record and leadership skills.

She said: “No matter what your politics are, she's gained a lot of support and a lot of trust, particularly over the pandemic, and she's known for being extremely capable and good at her job.

“Not liking one thing that she's done leading to calls for a resignation, where's the perspective? I think she's still got a lot to do, a lot to give and it's very hard to respond as if these calls are legitimate.”

The National: Forbes is currently on maternity leave but rumours swirled she could pose a leadership challangeForbes is currently on maternity leave but rumours swirled she could pose a leadership challange

It also comes as multiple news reports suggested that Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who is currently on maternity leave, is the favourite to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

There have also been rumours circulating that Forbes' opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill had forced Sturgeon’s hand to push the legislation through before she returned, in a bid to quell dissent within the party and losing another government minister.

However, Roddick said this framing was indicative of the media’s love for a “female feud”.

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She said: “There's been a lot of stuff in the press in the last three months about Kate’s opinion on things when she's not able to speak for herself, like the woman is on maternity leave, give her a break.

“She's not saying any of this; her silence doesn't mean what you want it to mean.”

It comes as a poll found that four in 10 voters in Scotland thought Nicola Sturgeon should step down due to the row over gender recognition reform.

However, the same poll found that 72% of Yes voters thought the First Minister should remain in the job.