First minister Nicola Sturgeon has delivered a withering response to a male Conservative member of the Scottish parliament who asked her what she's doing to help men who suffer from the gender pay gap.
During the weekly First Minister's Questions session on Thursday afternoon, Conservative MSP Gordon Lindhurst followed up a question about how the gender pay gap affects women with his own concerns about men.
Although Lindhurst conceded that the gender pay gap affecting men "may be less of an issue" than the gender pay gap affecting women, he asked Sturgeon what she was doing to help men to hoots of derision from other MSPs.
"The economy committee also heard evidence that in some areas men suffer from a gender pay gap in relation to women," said Lindhurst.
"While this may be less of a problem than that affecting women, what steps is the Scottish government taking to ensure a balanced approach which addresses the issue where it does affect men?"
The SNP MSPs behind Sturgeon shouted that Lindhurst's question "kind of makes the point" and the first minister joked that female Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson "is slowly sliding under that desk in front of her right now".
"Look, the whole essence of equality is that men and women are treated equally so, yes, in the spirit of consensus I kind of accept the underlying premise of the question," said Sturgeon.
"But anyone who can look at the problem of the gender pay gap right now or the gender inequalities that exist in other parts of our society and conclude the problem is we've got to do more to help men rather than women I think kind of misses the whole point here, and probably just underlines the fact the Tories have got an awful lot more to do here.
"I looked at the detail of the shadow cabinet reshuffle that happened yesterday and I may not be getting the figures absolutely right here but... [out of] something like 30 appointments there were only five women in that – that's shocking.
"Rather than come up with convoluted questions like that, the Tories need to go away and take a long hard look at themselves when it comes to gender balance."
Scottish parliamentarians joined in the dragging of Lindhurst on social media after his questions, both from Sturgeon's SNP and the Scottish Labour party.
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at email@example.com.
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