Why does the south of Scotland have just two female election candidates?

Twelve candidates are standing for election in the south of Scotland's three constituencies, but only two of them are women.

Dumfries and Galloway:

  • Richard Arkless (SNP)

  • Ted Thompson (Labour)

  • McNabb Laurie (Lib Dem)

  • Alister Jack (Con)

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale:

  • Nick Chisholm (Lab)

  • David Mundell (Con)

  • John Ferry (Lib Dem)

  • Amanda Burgauer (SNP)

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk:

  • Calum Kerr (SNP)

  • Jenny Marr (Scottish Lib Dem)

  • John Lamont (Scottish Con)

  • Ian Davidson (Scottish Lab)

The region's constituencies have never had a female MP, although before the boundaries changed Judith Hart spent four years as the Labour MP for Clydesdale (now part of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale).

Judith Hart, Minister for Overseas Development, in 1977. Credit: PA

However, despite all of the south of Scotland's MPs being male, the majority of the area's MSPs are women.

The leaders of both Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council are also female, but Elaine Murray, who spent 17 years as a Labour MSP, says she's still disappointed the General Election candidate lists are so male-dominated.

The south of Scotland may have a particularly high number of male candidates, but female representation remains an issue across Scotland.

Of the major parties, only Scottish Labour has put forwards more men than women (although the Scottish Greens have a 50-50 gender balance).

51% of Scotland's population is female. Credit: ITV Border

The Scottish Conservatives have selected a record number of female candidates, but it's still well below 50%.

Annie Wells MSP told us the abuse she, and other female politicians, face on social media could be putting women off.

The group Women 50:50 wants legal changes to be introduced to improve the representation of women in Scottish politics.

They are campaigning for quotas, which would compel parties to put forward at least 50% female candidates for Scottish Parliament and council elections.

The South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame (SNP), who is also Deputy Presiding Officer at the Scottish Parliament, does not think legal quotas should be introduced.

She argues it would be positive discrimination, and says the focus should be on educating and encouraging women to be politically active.

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