Scottish Government claim progress on boardroom gender equality to mark International Women’s Day


Majority of 2016 public board appointments from women #IWD2017

CABINET SECRETARY Angela Constance MSP has welcomed new figures that show a closing of the gender gap in appointments to public boards. 

In a debate to mark International Women’s Day, Constance welcomed progress on gender inequality towards the government target of 50-50 representation by 2020. 

The government, which has published a draft Gender Representation on Public Boards Bill, to make gender equality an “objective” for public agencies, confirmed that 59 per cent of new appointments to public boards were women last year, 20 per cent more than in 2012.

The number of women on public boards rose to a new high of 42 per cent in 2015, not long after Nicola Sturgeon revealed the first ever gender neutral cabinet anywhere in the British and Irish isles. 

International Women’s Day (8 March) is being celebrated by women’s and feminist groups across the world – including by Women For Indendence, Engender, Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, and Women 5050 in Scotland.

Constance, reflecting on the continued challenges for equality in parliament, said: “It is a stark fact that, in 2017, women nowhere in the world can claim to have the same rights and opportunities as men. No country has eradicated violence against women and girls, eliminated pay inequality or erased discrimination and prejudice.

“Today, we will acknowledge and appraise progress made in Scotland, and we will reflect on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead; most of all, I hope that we will all increase our resolve to act on advancing women’s equality both at home and abroad.” 

“I am pleased to announce today that I intend to lodge a proposal for a member’s bill in the coming months that will directly address access to sanitary products for women and girls across the country.” Monica Lennon MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon has been pressing for more financial support for sanitary products, to which access can often be denied to women in poverty – despite sanitary products being a health need. 

“I am pleased to announce today that I intend to lodge a proposal for a member’s bill in the coming months that will directly address access to sanitary products for women and girls across the country,” Lennon said. 

“For too long in politics, issues that affect women have not been high on the agenda. Too often, women have been told, ‘Not just yet,’ ‘Now’s not the time,’ or, ‘There are other issues that we need to deal with first, but don’t worry—we’ll get to that next.’

“This year’s international women’s day should be the parliament’s opportunity to state that we will no longer accept the status of women and girls as second class.”

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie took aim at the remarks and policies of new US president Donald Trump, and pledged solidarity with women in America opposing his policies. 

“To highlight Trump’s disgusting remarks, women around the world are taking part in the pussy hat global project,” McKelvie explained of the ‘pink hat’ phenomenon. 

“They want to share, declare and wear their feminism, and why should they not? They intend to show that feminism and solidarity across the globe by wearing pink knitted hats. Only with solidarity, resilience, commitment and passion will we make this nation, the UK and the world a better place for women and girls — a place in which they feel safe, educated, valued and, most important of all, equal.”

McKelvie got a light ticking off from the presiding officer for using a ‘prop’ as part of her speech.

The consultation on public boards closes mid-March

Picture courtesy of Aimee Custis Photography 

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.