While Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK on women’s employment, we know there is more to do.
In government, we published a landmark Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, the first in the UK, to set out action actions to close the gender pay gap.
We will create a dedicated Women’s Business Centre to provide financial support, advice and training to women looking to start or grow their business, backed by £50 million. As part of this, we will invest £3 million per year to pay the equivalent of a full time salary for 100 female applicants to develop their pioneering business idea.
While not all women have children we know that the availability of free high quality childcare is hugely important for many women in the workplace. We will complete the expansion of free, high quality childcare to 1,140 hours – the same time a child spends in primary school – by August 2021.
In the next Parliament we will go further, by building a system of ‘wraparound’ childcare, providing care before and after school, all year round. Those on the lowest incomes will pay nothing, and others will make fair and affordable contributions.
To tackle the motherhood penalty, we will halt the interest on student loans during maternity leave and continue funding for our Women Returners Programme to help women back into work.
We will build flexible and family friendly working into our Fair Work First programme, learning lessons from working practices during the pandemic to make it easier for women, particularly single parents, to return to work and also encourage a more equal share of childcare responsibilities.