A SNP minister has hit out at sections of the media who she said regard women crying as a 'sport'.

Minister for culture Christina McKelvie was commenting on the coverage of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon breaking down in tears on several occasions as she gave evidence to the Covid inquiry on Wednesday.

Ms Sturgeon became visibly emotional at certain points during the seven hours of questioning by senior counsel to the inquiry Jamie Dawson KC.

The following day Scottish Secretary Alister Jack appeared to take a swipe at the former first minister's tearfulness when he gave evidence to the inquiry. Mr Jack said MS Sturgeon “could cry from one eye if she wanted to”.

Both Ms Sturgeon's tears and Mr Jack's response were widely reported and commented on in the media.

READ MORE: Robertson to launch independence paper with focus on culture

Ms McKelvie was asked about the commentary surrounding the former first minister's tearfulness at the inquiry, including Mr Jack's remarks.

She was pressed on whether she thought the media did cover women's emotions differently to men.

The minister pointed journalists to a new body looking at how women are depicted on TV and in newspapers, the Gender Equal Media Institute.

She said work done by the institute had found that women generally and their emotions were portrayed differently in the media than men and male emotions.

She added: "For some people it is sport to see women upset and that has to stop. It is not acceptable and some of the work being done through the Gender Equal Media centre is challenging some of that."

READ MORE: Independent Scotland would set up new public service broadcaster

Ms McKelvie was speaking at the launch of a new paper on independence in Glasgow.
She was joined by culture secretary Angus Robertson and minister for independence Jamie Hepburn at the event to launch the tenth paper in the Building a New Scotland series – ‘Culture in an Independent Scotland’.

Mr Robertson declined to comment on the UK Covid Inquiry saying it was up to the inquiry to reach its own conclusions.

The Herald:

Cabinet Secretary for Culture Angus Robertson, Minister for Culture Christina McKelvie and Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn, pictured today at the launch the tenth paper in the Building a New Scotland series entitled 'Culture in an Independent Scotland.' Photograph by Colin Mearns/The Herald.

However, he added: "I think fair minded people will look at how evidence has be given and I know Nicola Sturgeon to be a tremendously genuine person.

"I know how diligent she was throughout the worst of the pandemic, working literally day and night to try and make the best decisions.

"In relation to the inquiry it's up to the inquiry to reach conclusions."

During her evidence to the inquiry, Ms Sturgeon admitted that she had already deleted communications relevant to the Covid inquiry when she promised to keep all potential evidence.

The former first minister of Scotland was accused of lying to the public and “betraying bereaved families” over her routine deletion of electronic messages including Whatsapps.

She was also forced to deny that some of her decisions during the pandemic had been motivated by the desire to promote Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon became tearful as she faced questions from Mr Dawson over whether she thought she was a good leader during the pandemic.

She also became emotional when pressed over her leadership style.

Mr Dawson said that Ms Sturgeon led “did not like light to be shone” on the manner in which decisions were made during the pandemic. She replied: “I would very strongly refute that.”

As she faced sustained questioning over her leadership during the crisis, Ms Sturgeon choked back tears as she addressed speculation of a cabinet rift and claims that she used the crisis for political gain. She said: “I was the first minister when the pandemic struck. There’s a large part of me wishes that I hadn’t been but I was and I wanted to be the best first minister.”

Her voice shaking, Sturgeon rejected claims that she was “thinking of political opportunity” during the early days of the pandemic when she often “felt overwhelmed by the scale” of what the country was facing.

When questioned whether she sought political advantage during the pandemic, her voice cracked and she wiped away tears.

She almost broke down when she said that her focus was on being the “best first minister” possible and it would be for others to judge whether she succeeded.

She denied seeing “an opportunity in any part of Covid” and was instead scared about the potential “catastrophe” that was facing the country.

This follows Michael Gove, who was the Cabinet Office minister during the Covid crisis, claiming that the former first minister was political in her handling of the pandemic. Scottish Government cabinet minutes showed that SNP ministers discussed consideration of using the pandemic to make the case for independence while Mr Gove produced a UK Government paper about how to use the events to highlight the strength of the Union.

During his appearance at the inquiry, Mr Jack said he had erased all of his text messages in November 2021 to free up space on his mobile phone.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who was critical of Ms Sturgeon's actions deleting her messages, said on Thursday he thought Mr Jack’s actions were also “wrong”.

During a visit to East Lothian today deputy leader Angela Rayner criticised Ms Sturgeon's deletions of her Whatsapp messages.

She said: "I think it’s appalling. Everybody during that period knew exactly the challenges we faced. When you’re making decisions, keeping a record – why would you delete the record, first of all? There are serious questions about that.

"I don’t think that Nicola Sturgeon has answered them credibly, if I’m honest, because those records were incredibly important."