Women still in Scotland very unequal, says new report

Date: 22nd March 2017
Category: Non-discrimination

A new report from Engender 'Sex and Power' sets out the extent of men's over-representation in positions of authority and influence in Scotland. Of the 3,029 positions of power and authority in Scotland identified in the report, 73% are filled by men.

In 2017, women still have unequal access to power, decision-making and participation throughout all areas of public life, which undermines gender equality in two key ways. Firstly, women are not able to participate fully in society and to exercise equal citizenship as men when they do not have the same access to opportunities. Secondly, women and men experience life very differently as a result of cultural gender roles and inequality, and therefore have diverse perspectives that must be heard in the public and private sector bodies that impact enormously on our society and on all of our lives.

Women are the majority of unpaid carers, lone parents, recipients of social security, low-paid workers, and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Scotland. The drivers of this systemic gender inequality and women's experiences of public life must inform policymaking, cultural production and corporate agendas, or else these systems will continue to entrench inequality between women and men. Representative political, public and private sector bodies also challenge normative gender roles, stereotypes and perceptions around authority. Where women are seen to succeed, more women engage and participate in public spheres.

Over recent years, there has been a degree of positive change in some fields, but elsewhere progress towards gender parity in positions of power has stalled or regressed. Leadership in certain sectors is exclusively male-dominated, and the overarching lack of gender balance amongst senior decision-makers who shape our society, economy and politics is unacceptable in 2017. This report identifies 3,029 positions of power in Scotland across our political institutions, public sector, media and cultural bodies, and corporate world. The statistics set out represent a snapshot of men's sustained dominance across all of these domains, and cast a spotlight on particular areas that are suffering from a chronic lack of diversity.


Recommendations on these issues from Together's State of Children's Rights in Scotland report

  • Scottish Government should take immediate action to increase the protection of vulnerable children and young people with regards to unbalanced, stereotypical reporting.
  • Scottish Government should take further steps to combat gender stereotypes and address discrimination experienced by particular groups of children, including children with disabilities, minority ethnic children, Gypsy/Traveller children, children affected by HIV and LGBT young people.
  • Scottish Government should ensure that the ongoing implementation of the Equally Safe strategy and delivery plan is informed by the views and experiences of children affected by violence against women and girls. A Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) should be conducted on the draft implementation plan
  • Measures should be developed in Scottish Government to ensure that affordable, flexible and high quality childcare is available to all families, focusing particularly on provision for those with low income, living in rural areas, parents with atypical work patterns and families with disabled children.
  • UK Government should ensure that the child's right to an adequate standard of living is not negatively impacted upon as a result of welfare reform.
  • Read Together's State of Children's Rights report here.