What is the SNP doing to help women into employment?

The SNP 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.

Free childcare has already been increased to 16 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds from low income households. By the end of this parliament, we’ll hit 30 hours a week, doubling spending to £840 million and saving families over £4,500 per child per year.

The 2018-19 Draft Budget allocates almost a quarter of a billion of new investment in the workforce and infrastructure necessary for this expansion. Read more about the expansion of childcare here.

Women continue to form the majority of college students and in 2018-19, the further education budget will increase to nearly £665 million. We’ve also expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland – now scrapped south of the border – to support even more school pupils and college students from low income families.

We are also helping experienced women to return to their previous careers after a break by investing £185,000 in six Returners projects.

To increase the number of women in leadership roles across the wider public sector, we have passed the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill. The new law – the first of its kind in the UK – will ensure that 50 per cent of non-executive members on public boards in Scotland are women. 

We will encourage organisations to sign up to the Business Pledge, including the commitment to workforce diversity, and to join the Partnership for Change campaign to set a voluntary commitment for gender balance in their boardrooms of 50:50 by 2020.
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