The SNP lead the way in North Ayrshire for fielding the most female candidates.

The party’s 12 females trounces other parties with it’s closest rival Labour only putting up four.

The Scottish Conservatives only put forward two candidates, as well as one from the Greens and one from UKIP.

In total, 33 new councillors will be elected on May 4 in North Ayrshire.

Out of 70 possible candidates, only 24 are women, this is around 34 per cent.

This is better than South Ayrshire where only 24 per cent are women, but not quite enough to beat East Ayrshire which sees just under 40 per cent of candidates being women.

Candidate Marie Burns, the SNP group leader in North Ayrshire said “In Scotland today, some 51 per cent of the population are women, a proportion that has been fairly consistent over the last seventy years.

“In North Ayrshire, the 2011 census in fact showed the figure as being even higher, at 52.4 per cent.

“Despite this demographic, women continue to be heavily under-represented in many areas of life – in the last sitting council, for example, only nine of the thirty elected councillors were women.

“As the First Minister stated at the United Nations on April 5 2017, “any nation that under-uses the potential of women, that under-uses half of its population, is needlessly impoverishing itself”. To lead by example, when Nicola Sturgeon became leader of the SNP in 2014 she decided to firmly place the issue of gender equality at the very heart of her administration, establishing one of the world’s first gender balanced government cabinets, comprised equally of men and women.

“Since then additional measures have been adopted within the party to help boost the numbers of women wishing to stand for election, to help better reflect the society that we live in today.

“In recent years the SNP in North Ayrshire has been overwhelmed by the numbers of women seeking to join our local party branches and to put themselves forward for selection.

“Much of this is due to our progressive social policies which are seen to recognise the full and equal role that women play within our society, such as the provision of innovative childcare measures to help mothers get back into work.

“We have also been campaigning hard against the many damaging policies being implemented by the UK Government against women, including the outrageous rise in the state pension age, and the new abhorrent rules through which rape has to be proved before a mother is allowed to claim child benefit for a third child.

“By being seen to be serious about women’s issues and rights, women have been increasingly attracted to join our party, and to actively participate.

“For the local government election in North Ayrshire on May 4, the SNP is fielding nineteen candidates, of whom twelve are women, and seven men.

“The high proportion of female candidates reflects the modern make up of the SNP in North Ayrshire, and the society that we wish to serve - but irrespective of whether our candidates are male or female, we are proud that all are highly qualified for the positions to which we hope they will be elected.”

Women 5050, the campaign advocating for 50 per cent representation of women in councils and in the Scottish Parliament, has analysed the candidate lists of all wards in the 32 councils for the upcoming local elections.

They have found a significant under-representation of women on the ballot paper. Women make up only 30 per cent of candidates and there are 21 wards in Scotland with only men on the ballot paper.

Representation female candidates by parties is as follows – Scottish Greens – 45 per cent. SNP – 41 per cent. Scottish Liberal Democrats – 33 per cent. Scottish Labour – 32 per cent. Independent candidates – 18 per cent. Scottish Conservatives – 17 per cent.

Talat Yaqoob Chair and CoFounder of Women 5050 said: “Currently, only 25 per cent of councillors are women. With only 30 per cent women candidates in this election and a shocking 21 wards with no women on the ballot paper whatsoever, it is clear that we will not reach fair representation for women in 2017.”

Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender said: “Having women in council chambers and around decision-making tables changes the conversation. It’s vital that councils making decisions about vital public services look like the people they are elected to represent.

“The time for bold action on women’s representation is now.”

The Scottish Conservatives across North, East and South Ayrshire are putting out 33 candidates, with seven of them being women. But Richard Wilkinson Chairman, North Ayrshire and Arran Conservative and Unionists says that their party is still the place for women to succeed - despite only fielding two candidates in locally

Richard said: “I was at the Women2Win Scotland campaign launch at the Scottish Conservative Conference in early March in Glasgow and am a great supporter of its aims.

“Ruth Davidson is living proof that for women who want to get right to the top, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is the place to do exactly that.”