Who we are and what we do

Watch an introduction to the NACWG from Co-Chair

Louise Macdonald OBE


In 2016, The Scottish Government pledged to establish a First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, to help drive forward action to tackle gender inequality.

In March 2017, the First Minister appointed Louise Macdonald OBE, (Chief Executive of Young Scot), as independent Chair of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG).

In January 2020, Dr Ima Jackson was appointed by the First Minister as Co-Chair with Louise Macdonald OBE. 

Today the NACWG is made up of 17 women and girls aged 17+. We come from a variety of jobs, roles and backgrounds, bringing a wide range of life experiences and voices to the group. Every one of us is passionate about tackling gender inequality.


Advisory Council Member Amina Ahmed, Scottish Government Fairer Future Codesign Panel


Our mission is to:

  • Play a leading role in raising awareness of gender inequality in Scotland, drawing attention to the wide range of issues this creates for women, girls in Scotland today.
  • Act as a champion for positive progress and policies that are making a meaningful difference to the lives of women and girls; encouraging Scotland to become a beacon for gender equality around the world.
  • Be a catalyst for change by providing a challenging voice to the First Minister and her team. Identifying gaps in work to tackle gender inequality or ways of increasing the pace and scale of change.


Ultimately, we want to help bring about equality for women and girls in every community across Scotland. Together, we are #GenerationEqual.

The NACWG is not a working group, a review body or a delivery agent. We set our own agenda, including what topics to cover, based on evidence from Scotland and beyond. However, in fulfilling our role we seek to positively influence policy, decision making and service delivery. We provide annual reports to the First Minister, demonstrating our findings and making recommendations.

You can find out more about our vision, background and membership here: NACWG Terms of Reference

You can find out more about our initial three-year strategy and our digital strategy in our work plan here:                                                                                       NACWG Priorities 2018-21


The 2020 NACWG Focus 

You can find a message from our Independent Co-Chairs Louise Macdonald OBE and Dr. Ima Jackson on our 2020 Annual Topic below and explore this further on our dedicated webpage here.


The Circle

To support the NACWG, we’ve established a large group of supportive allies, known as the Circle.

The Circle welcomes people of all genders, including men, boys, and non-binary people. It includes representatives of a wide range of sectors and organisations across Scotland. The Circle provides insight and evidence to the NACWG and act as public “champions” for gender equality.

Three times a year, the Circle and NACWG meet to share experience, evidence from the frontline and ideas and help the NACWG shape its recommendations to the First Minister.


Annual Topics

2018 Attitudes and Culture Change – in public life; in work; in learning systems…
2019 Policy Coherence – how is policy made and do policies work against each other…
2020 Creating an Intersectional Gender Architecture – the status of women in Scotland, structures and intersectionality.

Join The Circle

Sign up here to join the 1200+ people who've already joined our Circle of supporters. As a Circle member you can play an active part in shaping our third report of recommendations to the First Minister.

It's very important to us to learn from people with a diverse range of different lived experiences, and we want all genders, including men, to join too.

No specific experience is required to be a Circle member – just your valuable lived experience. We welcome anyone with an interest in helping Scotland benefit from greater gender equality.
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The Community

This website is our Community – an online space where stakeholders, groups and communities can connect with the work of the NACWG.

Every two months we shine a Spotlight on a different gender equality issue. We bring together articles, blogs, research and films that help raise awareness and stimulate discussion.

Every two months we ask three questions to spark discussion about the Spotlight. We’re encouraging as many people as possible to discuss these questions in a ‘Wee Circle’ group, and to share feedback on the ‘Wee Circle – Have Your Say’ page of this website. Your opinions are valuable and will help us with our strategy going forward…

You can find the Spotlights on the Latest tab on this site, where past topics can be found further down the page. We publish an anonymous summary report of the feedback received. 

We believe that everyone has a part to play in creating gender equality and that everyone benefits from a more gender equal society. We believe in doing what’s right, not what’s easy. And we know we can’t tackle gender equality without tackling how gender overlaps with other things like race, religion, disability and sexuality. That’s why we want as many people as possible to discuss the issues and share their feedback through this website and our social media channels.


To help create real and lasting change for everyone in Scotland.
To help create #GenerationEqual.


The Spotlights past and present are listed below:


Month Spotlight topic
September/October 2020 Body Image 
July/August 2020 Fair Work
March/June 2020 Race Equality 
January/February 2020 Disability 
November/December 2019 Carers
September/October 2019 Sport 
July/August 2019 Early Years 
May/June 2019 Older Women 
March/April 2019 Health 
February 2019  Justice 
January 2019 Education 
December 2018 Participation 
November 2018 STEM
October 2018 Sport 
September 2018 Masculinity 
August 2018  Enterprise 
July 2018 Poverty
June 2018 Sexual Harassment