IT is time to “draw a line in the sand” over deep-seated sexism and misogyny in society, the First Minister said as she called on men to change their behaviour.

During FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon was asked about the Mail on Sunday article which accused deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner of crossing and uncrossing her legs in a bid to distract Boris Johnson at the despatch box.

The story, which contained a quote from an anonmyous Tory MP, prompted fury at the sexism directed at Rayner.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Covid care home deaths 'embedded on my soul'

And the First Minister pointed out that she herself had been on the receiving end of similar tactics from the Daily Mail attempting to “reduce women to their legs”.

In 2017, the FM and then Prime Minister Theresa May were pictured on the front page accompanied by the headline: “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it”.

The article was roundly condemned, but the FM noted that we “still live in a society where it is deemed acceptable for a story like that to be published in a major newspaper”.

SNP MSP Collette Stevenson asked the First Minister: “The comments directed at Angela Rayner reported at the weekend were deeply sexist and misogynistic, indeed misogyny is something that women face not just in elected office but daily.

“So can the First Minister outline what work is under way to eliminate prejudice and misogyny in Scotland and will she join me in condemning comments made towards Angela Rayner?”

MSPs in the chamber erupted into applause, and the FM noted that she was “glad to hear” cross-chamber support for Rayner.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross accused of 'misogyny' after Karen Adam 'whinge' snipe

She added: “I certainly stand in solidarity with her and condemn, unreservedly, the comments that were reported on Sunday.

“I, like everybody else, I think most people were absolutely appalled, both by the male conservative MP who thought it was ok to make these pathetic and derogatory comments but also by the fact that we still live in a society where it is deemed acceptable for a story like that to be published in a major newspaper, and there’s a lot of reflection needed on both of these points.”

The First Minister then referenced the infamous Daily Mail “Legs-it” front page of her and May.

The National: The infamous Daily Mail front page which targetted Sturgeon and MayThe infamous Daily Mail front page which targetted Sturgeon and May

She said: “Unfortunately I am all too familiar with in my case the Daily Mail’s tactics of attempting to reduce women politicians to their legs, a tactic which to the best of my knowledge is never used to dismiss and degrade male politicians in the way that happens to female politicians.

“This story sadly and depressingly highlighted what women already know and many women already experience on a daily basis - there is deep seated sexism and misogyny in society and it needs to be addressed.”

The FM then referenced the consultation under way which could lead to misogyny laws being introduced in Scotland, after a working group headed by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC suggested legislation to tackle the problem.

READ MORE: Probe as Scotland's Census delay news leaked to the press before Holyrood announcement

Amongst other policies, this would include a statutory aggravation of misogyny, which could lead to a harsher sentence, and a new offence of stirring up hatred against women and girls.

But the FM added that there is only so much the government can do, and that men have to play their part too.

She added: “This is something for all of us, but men in particular, to reflect on. We will rue the day we make it more difficult and less attractive for women to come forward for election to public office.

“It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and it’s time for men, not all men are misogynists, but misogyny comes from men and it’s for them to change.”