The SNP’s Christina McKelvie has highlighted Scotland’s ambition on gender equality and ensuring women are properly represented in leading roles in the public and private sector, during questions at Holyrood today.
The Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP – who is a prominent campaigner on women’s issues in parliament – raised government action on tackling underrepresentation and the gender pay gap in topical questions on International Women’s Day to Social Justice Cabinet Secretary, Alex Neil.
In his response, Mr Neil highlighted the activities of the Scottish Government in marking International Women’s Day noting that “the work to end gender inequality is not just for one day a year, but is part of our government’s core ambition for Scotland as we pledge for parity”. The Cabinet Secretary recognised the limited powers of government in forcing private sector organisations to achieve a 50:50 balance on boards, but stressed the importance of taking action to encourage employers to do so and helping them to recognise the benefits.
Last week the Scottish Government announced – again in response to a parliamentary question from Christina McKelvie – that in 2015, for the very first time, that more women than men were appointed on merit by Scottish Ministers to the boards of public bodies.
Commenting, Christina McKelvie MSP said:
“International Women’s Day is a key opportunity to celebrate progress on a great number of important issues – and to take stock of the many challenges that remain present.
“The SNP Government has taken huge strides in terms of gender equality, and last week’s announcement that the majority of appointments to public boards in Scotland last year were women is extremely encouraging.
“But there is much more work to do – in public life in Scotland and in the private sector – to make sure that there are no barriers to women taking the lead and realising their potential, particularly in the workplace.
“Work to end inequality and close the gender pay gap will remain at the heart of the SNP’s ambition for Scotland’s future – focal to May’s elections, and beyond.”