Supporting Women in the Scottish Economy – UK Government response

Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop has today published the UK Government’s formal response to the Sawers Review on the role of women in the Scottish economy.

The publication comes as the UK Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, announced a package of measures to close the pay gap.

In the response to Professor Sawers’ report, Lord Dunlop sets out the huge amount of work happening across Government to drive forward gender equality. That includes the setting up of a new ministerial group to look at the issue. Ms Morgan, has invited ministers from the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to come together to share best practice.

Last year well-respected Scottish academic Professor Lesley Sawers was commissioned by the UK Government to review the role of women in Scotland’s economy. Her report was published last year and set out a number of recommendations to improve gender equality and the economic contribution of women. They included: changing attitudes to and perceptions of women in the workplace; driving forward change in the representation of women at senior levels; and measuring properly change.

The Government response sets out the range of work underway to maximise the contribution of women to the economy, and makes clear the Government’s’ commitment to do more.

Lord Dunlop said:

“We have seen real progress in extending opportunity to women across the UK. There are now more women in employment, and more women-led businesses, than ever before, there isn’t a single all-male board left in the FTSE 100, and the gender pay gap is at its lowest ever level since records began.

“Lesley’s report showed that Scotland is doing well in terms of many measures of gender equality, but it also highlighted that there is still much that needs to be done – in practical terms and in cultural change.

“We need a coordinated approach and I am pleased that the UK Government is to set up a new ministerial group to look at this issue.

“I am extremely grateful to Lesley for all of her work on this review, and the continuing role she has played to champion this important issue within the Scottish business community.”

Professor Sawers said:

“The review focused on the role and contribution of women to the Scottish economy. While recognising that significant progress had been made within Scotland, it also identified a number of actions to be undertaken by government, private and public sector organisations, and by civic Scotland that would help ensure that as a nation we maximise the potential and opportunities for more than 50 per cent of the population and for generations to come. A key recommendation was that we needed a more joined up approach. Coordination and joint working at all levels will be key to achieving gender equality and I am delighted that Ministers from across the UK have been invited to take part in a ministerial group on women and the economy to take a number of actions from the review forward.”

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