As a party and in government we’re striving to ensure that no young girl grows up with the prospect of facing a glass ceiling that limits their ambitions.
Here’s some of action we’re taking to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and in politics.
Shining a light on the gender pay gap
In recent years the pay gap between men and women in Scotland has reduced, but it remains a problem. One way of challenging this is to shine a light on it and force organisations to look at how pay is decided and who is paid what.
Speaking at a Unite Conference today, Nicola will set out how the Scottish Government plans to improve the transparency of pay equality in the public sector. Changes being introduced by the Scottish Government – if approved by the Scottish Parliament – will mean that public sector organisations with more than 20 employees will have to publish information on the difference in pay between men and women they employ.
Right now only public authorities with more than 150 employees are required to publish this information. Proposed UK-wide regulations will only require employers with over 250 employees to publish their data.
Gender equality in the boardroom
The SNP Scottish Government is leading a 5050 campaign to encourage the public, third and private sector companies to commit to gender equality in the boardroom. And, Nicola has already pledged to introduce legislation that will require gender balance on public boards in the first year of the next Parliament, if the SNP is re-elected.
Helping women progress into the labour market
The SNP Scottish Government does everything within its current powers to help women enter and progress in the labour market. Although not exclusively a woman’s issue, we are increasing childcare to improve outcomes for children, and support more women back into work. All three and four year olds, and the most disadvantaged two year olds are now entitled to 600 hours of early learning and childcare.
Over the next parliament, if an SNP Scottish Government is re-elected, parents will be able to take their available hours of childcare to better suit their working patterns. They will, increasingly, be able to take them as full day sessions as well as half days and have the right to spread these hours over the summer holidays as well as term time.
By the end of the next parliament we will double the available hours per week from 16 to 30 which will help parents, mothers in particular get back to work. That’s good for families as well as for our national prosperity.
Gender balance in front-line politics
While there is much work still to be done, Scotland is showing global leadership on this issue. We are ranked 14th in the world on women’s political empowerment – significantly higher than the UK.
Nicola is Scotland’s first female First Minister and her gender-balanced Cabinet – only one of a handful in the world – was branded “a role-model Cabinet” by the United Nations.
The SNP are equally determined to improve gender balance in the Scottish Parliament and we will go into next year’s election with more female candidates than ever before. The percentage of female constituency candidates is now at 42 per cent – up from 28 per cent in 2011. And, of the 96 regional list nominees, 45 per cent are women – up from 26 per cent in 2011.