Sturgeon hits out over British tabloid legs headline

NEW YORK - Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday criticised a recent tabloid front page that reduced talks between her and British Prime Minister Theresa May to a contest between their legs.

The Daily Mail, Britain's second-best selling newspaper faced a backlash last week for comparing May and Sturgeon's legs when they met amid disagreements over Brexit and Sturgeon's push for another Scottish referendum on independence.

"I tried not to overreact," Sturgeon told the Women of the World Summit in New York when asked about the headline "Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!"

"No matter how much progress women have made and are making, it's a vivid illustration of how much more we still have to achieve," Sturgeon told the women's empowerment event.

She referenced an image taken last year from a meeting with May in Edinburgh that was cut off at the knees looking at their shoes.

Read also: Backlash after Daily Mail compares the legs of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon

"This tendency to reduce women to body parts or to what they wear or what their hair looks like is not innocent and it's not something we should just laugh off," she said.

Sturgeon said she was inspired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and praised her for standing up to Donald Trump immediately after his electoral victory last year.

"I've never been comfortable with the idea that when fundamental principles and values are at stake that politicians should just retain a diplomatic silence," she said.

"I think we've all got a duty on some occasions to speak up and Angela Merkel did that," Sturgeon added.

After the US election, Merkel offered Trump "close co-operation" but said relations must be based on the "values of democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political belief." 

Sturgeon also spoke out against what she called an "air of misogyny" about Hillary Clinton's treatment during the election.

"The way that Hillary was talked about, the treatment that Hillary suffered at times, just seemed to me to have an air of misogyny about it that I wanted to believe that we had moved on from," she said.

"She has made it easier for women like me in politics and I think for that I and women across the world really owe Hillary Clinton a debt of gratitude," the Scot said.