The Scottish context


This section is not an exhaustive list of all initiatives and work around women and the labour market in Scotland, but highlights some key policy and other initiatives.

Scottish Government equality outcome on women and employment

Scottish Government was obliged under the public sector equality duty to publish a set of equality outcomes. One of those is on women and employment:

Women's position in the economy and in employment is improved in the long term, and reflected more comprehensively in Scottish Government economic policy and startegies by 2017.

This has provided a lever of focus on actions to reduce the pay gap, both within individual public sector organisations, and on the part of the Scottish Government itself.

50:50 by 2020 and the Scottish Business Pledge

Scottish Government's voluntary initiative, Partnership for Change, encourages public, private and third sector organisations to commit to increasing the diversity of boards and the talent pipeline to work towards gender balance with the aim of achieving 50:50 by 2020.

The 50:50 by 2020 commitment aligns with another voluntary initiative, Scottish Business Pledge, which encourages companies to support inclusive growth by committing to a number of pledges, one of which is improved gender equality. Other pledges include paying the Living Wage, innovation, internationalisation, and workforce engagement.

Developing the Young Workforce

Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy sets out how Scottish Government will implement the recommendations of the Commission for Developing the Young Workforce. The Commission was tasked with identifying how Scotland can produce better qualified, work ready, and motivated young people with skills relevant to modern employment opportunities. Work is being developed by Skills Development Scotland, Education Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, local authorities, colleges and other stakeholders to implement recommendations to reduce gender segregation in schools, further education, and Modern Appreticeships.

Maximising Economic Oppportunities for Women

Scotland's Economic Strategy states:

'Maximising economic opportunities for women to participate fully in the economy, and recognising the wider social role they provide, is key to improving economic performance and tackling inequality.'

The strategy commits to addressing women's inequality in employment outcomes, including a focus on promoting the fair work agenda, and encouraging employers to mitigate the gendered barriers which prevent sustained economic growth such as occupational segregation.

Scottish Government also published a report on Maximising Economic Opportunities for Women in Scotland which provides a summary of evidence on women's economic outcomes and barriers to economic opportunity and progress in Scotland. This report was discussed at the First Minister's Council of Economic Advisersin 2014.

Cross-directorate Occupational Segregation Working Group

A recommendation from the 2012 Women's Employment Summit, a joint Scottish Government STUC initiative, was to reconvene the cross-directorate occupational segregation working group.

The Scottish Government (then Executive) established a cross-directorate (then departmental) working group on occupational segregation, in part because of the focus of recommendations of the Women and Work Commission report on that specific cause of the pay gap.

Close the Gap participated in this group, which considered the specific locus for action on occupational segregation within each directorate. The group reported in July 2008.

Close the Gap also participates in the reconvened group.

Equate Scotland

Equate Scotland works to address the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology, and the built environment. The organisation delivers workshops and support for women; provides consultancy and training to industry; delivers the Interconnect network for female STEM students; and delivers industry placements for female students through the CareerWISE initiative. Equate Scotland is funded by Scottish Government.

Women in Enterprise Action Framework

Scotland's Women in Enterprise Action Framework was co-developed by Women's Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Government, and is the first of its kind in Europe. It was developed with the aim of increasing the contribution of women's enterprise to the Scottish economy. Actions focus on mentoring and networking, role models, markets and finance, and gender specific support.

Strategic Group on Women and Work

The Strategic Group on Women and Work was established in 2013 by the Minister for Youth Employment to take forward actions and recommendations, and monitor the implementation of agreed plans from the 2012 Women's Employment Summit.

The remit of the group has since changed, and it now maintains a 'strategic overview of Scottish Government's approach to tackling the barriers women face in entering and progressing in the labour market'.

Equally Safe

Equally Safe is Scotland's violence against women and girls strategy. The strategy recognises that women's economic equality is key to addressing violence against women and girls. Reducing occupational segregation, and women's labour market inequality are central to achieving women's economic independence.

Close the Gap participates on the Equally Safe primary prevention expert group.

Related publications

Briefing - gender and the workplace, June 2016Briefing - gender and the workplace, June 2016 C

Close the Gap briefing - debate on the EJFW Committee pay gap inquiryClose the Gap briefing - debate on the EJFW Committee pay gap inquiry

Close the Gap Working Paper 17: Gender Pay Gap StatisticsClose the Gap Working Paper 17: Gender Pay Gap Statistics This paper is an updated version of Working Paper 16: Statistics published in 2016.

CTG Working Paper 13: Women and Work: What comes next in a post-referendum Scotland?CTG Working Paper 13: Women and Work: What comes next in a post-referendum Scotland? This paper aims to provide an overview of the implications for women and work in the context of the independence debate.

Gender Equality Pays: The economic case for addressing women's labour market inequalityGender Equality Pays: The economic case for addressing women's labour market inequality This paper presents research into the link between gender equality and economic benefit.

MSP briefing June 2012MSP briefing June 2012 A briefing for MSPs in advance of the Scottish Parliament debate on 20 June 2012.

Response to the consultation on European Structural and Investment Fund 2014 - 2020 Programmes This is a joint submission from Close the Gap and Engender.

Submission to Economy Jobs and Fair Work Committee inquiry on Scotland’s Economic Performance: trends, challenges and future developmentsSubmission to Economy Jobs and Fair Work Committee inquiry on Scotland’s Economic Performance: trends, challenges and future developments CLose the Gap's response to the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee's call for evidence on trends, challenges and future developments around Scotland’s economy.

Women and work consultation Feb 2013Women and work consultation Feb 2013 This is a response to the call for evidence from the Equal Opportunities Committee at the Scottish Parliament.