Nicola Sturgeon has been recognised by the UN for her work in advancing gender equality.
On a visit to North America, the First Minister met with the executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in New York on Wednesday.
An announcement was made during the meeting that Ms Sturgeon has been appointed by UN Women as the first global advocate for the UN’s #HeForShe campaign.
Ms Sturgeon indicated that the Scottish Government had signed up to the campaign which engages men and boys as advocates for equality.
The First Minister also announced a new pilot project to reduce rates of early and child marriage in rural areas of Malawi as part of a further Scottish Government partnership with UN Women.
Funding of £113,000 was confirmed for the UN Women Malawi project ‘WeLearn – A Virtual Skills School Pilot’, which aims to empower young women and girls with information, skills and support networks to reduce social and economic isolation.
“Progressing gender equality supports a basic human right and will help people flourish and reach their full potential, which will ultimately create a wealthier and fairer society,” said the First Minister.
“Gender equality and a commitment to education are fundamental shared values. I want to ensure Scotland is a good global citizen, supporting the UN’s Goals both at home and in our partner countries, including Malawi.
“Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, mostly affecting girls with less education and in rural areas. The Scottish Government will do everything we can to tackle the injustices and hardships faced by many young girls and women around the globe.
“It is vital we continue to make progress with gender equality. I am honoured to have been asked to be their first Global Advocate.”
UN under-secretary-general Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “It is my honour to announce today her excellency Ms Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, as an inaugural HeForShe global advocate for gender equality.
“The First Minister is already leading the way in her own government with a cabinet made up entirely of women ministers.
“So she is in a unique position to now galvanise the men and boys of Scotland to further advance gender equality, with a strong focus on youth.
“UN Women is delighted to partner with the First Minister to drive meaningful, lasting change and a more equal world for all.”