Nicola Sturgeon speaks after she was formally announced as the new Scottish National Party (SNP) leader at the party conference in Perth, Scotland November 14, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon speaks after she was formally announced as the new Scottish National Party (SNP) leader at the party conference in Perth, Scotland November 14, 2014Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon has not only become the first female First Minister of Scotland but she has also marked a sea change in the gender make-up of her new senior ministerial team.

After being sworn in my parliament as the new leader of Scotland, Sturgeon unveiled an equal split of male and female members in the senior part of her cabinet, with finance secretary John Swinney becoming her deputy.

"The aims of my government are clear: to create a nation that is both socially democratic and socially just, a nation that is confident in itself and governed effectively and a nation which will address poverty, support business, promote growth and tackle inequality," said Sturgeon.

"The new cabinet team I have announced today will pursue these priorities with verve, vigour and determination."

"Every member of the cabinet is part of this government's top team on merit, on the basis of the excellent work they have already done as ministers.

"The cabinet line-up is also a clear demonstration that this government will work hard in all areas to promote women, to create gender equality and it sends out a strong message that the business of redressing the gender balance in public life starts right here in government."

On 18 September, over 80% of Scots turned out to vote and, in the end, 55% decided Scotland should stay part of the 307-union with England.

Only a day later Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond announced he would resign. He also said voters were "tricked" into rejecting independence following a raft of promises by Whitehall for enhanced devolution, in exchange for a No vote.

Sturgeon has been Scotland's deputy leader for the past decade and was the only candidate to succeed Salmond.

On 20 November, Sturgeon swore an oath of allegiance before Scotland's judges in Edinburgh's Court of Session and will receive a Royal Warrant.

The reshuffle has seen Roseanna Cunningham promoted into the cabinet as fair work, skills and training secretary while Fiona Hyslop will remain as secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs.