Seven principles for a gender-competent Scottish National Investment Bank

Scottish Government's Programme for Government for 2017-2018 announced the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank. The consultation on this closed on Monday this week.

Alongside sister organisations Engender, the Scottish Women's Budget Group, and Women's Enterprise Scotland, we've produced seven principles which we believe are vital for creating a gender-competent national investment bank.


“Equality is good for growth. The converse isn’t necessarily true.” As investment affects men and women differently, the principle of equality and non-discrimination should be core to the Scottish National Investment Bank. Inclusive growth means including men and women and meeting the different needs of disabled, LGB & T, Black and minority ethnic, and older and younger women, and non-binary people.


Investing in infrastructure should not only mean investment in bricks, steel, and fibre optic cable. Investment in childcare has the same type of impact, and should be considered as infrastructure.


Growth can come from sectors we don’t immediately associate with productivity such as childcare and long-term care. Unpaid care also underpins our ‘productive’ economy. We want to see care become a key sector of Scotland’s economic strategy and a focus of the Scottish investment strategy.


Our investment bank should invest in research and development, but the jobs and technologies it creates should benefit men and women, boys and girls. Investment in science and technology should create opportunities for women and girls to benefit on an equal basis, reflecting the differences in their lived experience of health and wellbeing, play, propensity to care, cultural and social interests, and safety.


Success shouldn’t only be measured by GVA or GDP but by an increase in wellbeing of the people of Scotland. Wellbeing indicators should be created and used to measure the bank’s performance.


Women’s businesses should stop being undercapitalised, so that they can be as successful as men’s businesses. If the numbers of women-led businesses increased to equal those of men, it would lead to a 5% increase in GDP, equivalent to £7.6bn.


The Bank should be governed by a gender-balanced, gender-competent leadership team. It should gather and publish gender-disaggregated data about its investments, programmes, and services. Its offer should be gender-sensitive and aware that many women start businesses because of their experience of sexism and racism in employment.

You can read our response to the consultation here.

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