First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told how she feels "very acutely" the responsibility and privilege of being the first woman to hold the post.


Scotland's top politician said that she hopes her achievement will inspire other young women and show that they should not be held back by any "glass ceiling".

In a speech at her alma mater the University of Glasgow she said: "If I can do it anyone can do it."

During her talk, which was organised by student organisation Successful Women at Glasgow, she addressed issues of gender equality.

She said: "The responsibility of being First Minister is an enormous one. When you add to that the responsibility of being the first woman to hold the job First Minister then that adds up to a responsibility and privilege that I feel very acutely."

She added: "I hope the example of being a female First Minister is one that can inspire others. I am living proof that it can be done.

"The simple but powerful message I want my tenure as First Minister to send out to every girl, to every woman in this country is if you are good enough and are prepared to work hard enough there's nothing, certainly no glass ceiling that should hold you back from fulfilling your dreams, and if I can send that message and make young girls believe that then I will be very very happy indeed."

Ms Sturgeon also touched on what it is like to be a female politician and how women are perceived differently from men.

She recalled how she was described as a "nippy sweetie" in the media and was told she didn't smile enough.

The First Minister urged people to stay true to themselves, saying: "A strong assertive woman was seen as a nippy sweetie whereas in a man it would've been fantastic, strong leadership.

"You don't get any credit for trying to be something you're not in this life. What I've learnt from that experience is be yourself. Stand or fall, fail or succeed, hopefully stand and succeed, on your own merits, on who you are."

Ms Sturgeon also said that more needs to be done to achieve gender equality.

She said: "I can look back over the 25 years I've spent in politics and I can see that attitudes have changed remarkably over that period but they need to change even more if future generations of women are not going to face the same hurdles that my generation have done."

Since becoming First Minister, she has made addressing inequality a key focus of her administration.