Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon is a Scottish politician who is the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party, in office since 2014.
A first minister is one of a variety of terms for the leader of a government cabinet, which is a term currently used to refer to the political leader of a devolved national government, such as the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, or of a dependent territory.
The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon's Conference Speech, Glasgow, 28th March 2015 by Darth Small
She is the first woman to hold either position.
Leaders' Debate - SNP's Nicola Sturgeon On Education by Sky News
Sturgeon has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999, first as an additional member for the Glasgow electoral region from 1999 to 2007, and as the member for Glasgow Southside since 2007.
A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, Sturgeon worked as a solicitor in Glasgow.
The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions.
After being elected to the Scottish Parliament, she served successively as the SNP's shadow minister for education, health and justice.
In 2004 she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney.
However, she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, standing instead as depute leader on a joint ticket with Salmond.
Both were subsequently elected, and as Salmond was still an MP in the House of Commons, Sturgeon led the SNP in the Scottish Parliament from 2004 to 2007.
The SNP won the highest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election and Salmond was subsequently appointed First Minister.
He appointed Sturgeon as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, commonly referred to as the Health Secretary, is a cabinet position in the Scottish Government.
Following the defeat of the "Yes" campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Salmond announced that he would be resigning as party leader at the SNP party conference that November, and would resign as First Minister after a new leader was chosen.
Scottish independence is a political aim of various political parties, advocacy groups, and individuals in Scotland for the country to become an independent sovereign state.
No one else was nominated for the post by the time nominations closed, leaving Sturgeon to take the party leadership unopposed at the SNP's annual conference.
She was formally elected to succeed Salmond as First Minister on 19 November.
Forbes magazine ranked Sturgeon as the 50th most powerful woman in the world in 2016 and 2nd in the United Kingdom.