Nine equality principles to adapt for economic recovery in Scotland

Date: 25th June 2020
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare


Engender has set out nine evidence-based ideas, challenges, and calls to enable inclusive growth and recovery from COVID-19. They describe features of an economy that works for women as well as men and aims to create better jobs, better decision-making, and a more adequate standard of living for all.

The nine principles are:

  1. Equality- Women and men had different levels of economic wellbeing before Covid-19. Women (especially Black and minority ethnic women) often take up roles in lower-paid sectors, including cleaning, care, retail, and hospitality that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Much of this work is part-time and precarious and many women juggle a series of micro-jobs to balance paid and unpaid work. Applying the principle of equality to economic growth would mean changing which industries policies focus on and which are invested in, bringing women into these sectors.
  2. Gender-sensitive inclusive growth- This is about the pattern of growth and not its rate. Repatterning growth means seeing the poorest women’s income rise both along with the poorest men’s and also relative to men’s as a group
  3. Cash transfers to women and their dependent children- Women would have money in their pockets to spend on goods and services in their local economies.
  4. Investing in a care economy- Care is equally as essential to our economy as bricks, steel, and fibre optic cable. Investment in childcare and care for disabled people and older people should be considered as necessary infrastructure for a sustainable wellbeing economy and a good society.
  5. Unpaid domestic and care work needs to be recognised, reduced, and redistributed from the household to the state- This can be done by increasing accessible, good quality childcare and social care. Within households, men and women should be enabled to do a 50/50 share of paid work and unpaid work.
  6. Women’s work in care, cleaning, catering, retail, and clerical roles has for too long been undervalued, underpaid, and underprotected- State and public body wage setting powers should be used to increase pay in these sectors and improve their conditions of work.
  7. GDP and GVA are the tools to measure the economic growth of a country. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the values the final goods and services produced within a country while Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value added to the goods and service i.e. it quantifies the productivity of the economy. Economic success shouldn’t only be measured by GVA or GDP but by an increase in wellbeing of the people of Scotland- Gendered wellbeing indicators should take a human rights approach, and measure the extent to which all groups of women and men have an adequate standard of living, including access to housing, social protections, and health.
  8. Public spending and revenue-raising decisions shaping Scotland’s economic recovery must integrate gender analysis across budgetary processes- This includes allocation of resources, scrutiny of spending, and outcomes from public finance decisions.
  9. Scotland’s economy should be governed by gender-balanced, gender-competent leaders, making decisions based on intersectional gender-sensitive sex-disaggregated data- A healthy economy is one that provides equality for all, including between all groups of people.

Read more about these nine principles here.