THE SNP have brought women across the party together to celebrate International Women’s Day and the progress that has been made for women’s equality in Scotland.

Meeting outside the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretaries and Scottish Government ministers, MSPs, MPs, councillors and other SNP members joined Deputy First Minister Shona Robison to “highlight the ways in which the SNP is delivering for women across Scotland”.

Those attending held signs demonstrating SNP policies, such as “opposing the two-child limit and rape clause”, “free period products”, “fighting for justice for WASPI women” and “1140 hours of free childcare”.

The National: SNP women politicians gathered outside Holyrood to celebrate International Women's Day

Speaking to The National, Kaukab Stewart MSP – the first woman of colour in government in Scotland – said it was a “great privilege” to speak up on women's rights, as she led her first debate in Holyrood on International Women’s Day.

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“There are so many women who don’t have a voice, I’m happy to amplify their voice," Stewart (below) said.

The National:

"But ultimately, I want to make sure that I create a space to empower them, so they can roar themselves.”

She endorsed The National's special International Women's Day edition, adding that it was important to highlight different perspectives.

"I think it's a fantastic idea. When you have focuses like that, not only is it a celebration but it also gives organisations the opportunity to go out there and get that talent and to amplify it, and to show people that there is a different lens, there is a different view which is actually interesting to everyone in society."

Hannah Bardell, SNP MP for Livingston, also showed support for the special edition.

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"I really endorse what The National are doing with an all-female team," she said.

"We're at a pretty sad and difficult time at the moment in politics and public discourse, where women and minority groups are being attacked just for using their voice.

"We have to stand up and show that having more women in public life not only benefits women, it benefits men as well because we get better policies for families, for minority groups, for everyone in society."

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville (below) said the edition was a "significant moment in the world of Scottish journalism".

The National: The Social Justice Secretary will launch the publication later this week

She added: "Every page of this pro-independence, all-female edition is steeped in struggle; the struggle for gender parity and the struggle for Scotland's future to once again be in Scotland's hands.

"If it wasn't for the hard work and dedication of women - including those responsible for this publication - the independence movement would not be what it is, nor can we achieve full gender equality without the full powers of an independent country.

"To see such a positive vision for Scotland and women across the world outlined today is heartening and I hope it encourages women to get involved and make their voices heard."

Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Robison (below) criticised the damage being caused by Westminster policies for disproportionately impacting women.

"Advancing equality for women and girls is at the heart of the SNP’s work and it is central to our vision of an independent Scotland,” Robison said.

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“The SNP in Government has taken action where it can with the limited powers at its disposal to progress equality for women - from appointing the first gender balanced Cabinet in the UK to introducing world leading domestic abuse laws.

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“At Westminster, the SNP has been at the forefront of standing up for women - leading campaigns against cruel Tory policies like the two-child limit and rape clause or fighting for justice for the WASPI women, who have been short-changed by the increase to women’s State Pension Age.

“While the SNP will continue to stand up for equality for all women, we know that so much of the damage Westminster is causing disproportionately impacts women.

“With independence, we can deliver real change and build a Scotland that champions fairness and equality for all.”