Nicola Sturgeon
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon spoke out about domestic violence at the Women in the World conference Getty

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister, has spoken out about gender-based violence saying equality is unattainable unless violence against women and girls is addressed. Speaking at the Women in the World conference in central London, she said the SNP "would not stop" until gender equality was a reality.

"I believe passionately that domestic violence isn't just a result of gender inequality but a cause of gender inequality," she told interviewer Sir Harold Evans, editor-at-large of Thomson Reuters. "We'll never have true gender equality until we eradicate violence against women. We were struck by the protest outside Suffragette this week."

More than one hundred protesters demonstrated at the premiere of new film Suffragette in Leicester Square on 7 October. Activists from the organisation Sisters Uncut said they wanted to draw attention to cuts to domestic violence services.

Sturgeon says the extent of domestic violence and abuse carried out against women in Scotland is the reason why the country has introduced a new bill to tackle revenge pornography and improve justice measures for victims of violence behind closed doors. The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Bill will also strengthen police powers to deal with domestic abuse, while making it a criminal offence to publish an explicit picture of someone without their consent.

"I believe more passionately than I believe in many things that we need to drive forward gender equality, but we won't when so many women are still victims of violence," Sturgeon said.

The SNP leader went on to discuss her belief in quotas to address the lack of women in power. She said: "I've argued for positive action and I do believe in quotas. It's taking an awful long time to get there without them so we need to accelerate that process.

"I've got a 50:50 cabinet. We're going to keep trying to make progress on this because it's not good for any of us to under use the talents of 50% of the population. I don't want my nine-year-old niece to still be fighting these battles."