Page last updated at 00:07 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

Women's Day vow to fight violence

Domestic abuse victim, played by an actress
Ms Sturgeon said violence was part of too many women's lives

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has marked International Women's Day by vowing to tackle the "scourge" of domestic abuse.

The day is marked around the world on 8 March and this year it is focusing on violence against women.

Ms Sturgeon said Scottish ministers had committed 44m to tackle the problem.

Scots Tory leader Annabel Goldie said family should be "on the top of the agenda". Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman attacked the gender pay gap.

The comments came as politicians marked the day, which is observed by the United Nations, at a series of events.

'Heart of society'

Ms Sturgeon said: "Sadly, violence is part of too many women's lives across the world.

"On this day and throughout the year the Scottish Government is determined to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children."

Ms Goldie drew on the case of Brandon Muir, the Dundee toddler who was killed by his mother's boyfriend.

"I want today to call on my fellow political leaders in Scotland - let's put family back at the top of the agenda, let's have the debate about how we put family back at the heart of society and how we support the family," she said.

Ms Harman told delegates at Scottish Labour's annual conference in Dundee that bank bosses topped the list of treating female employees unfairly.

She said: "The gender pay gap in financial services is worse than in most other sectors."

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